July 31

This Day in History

Crime

Jul 31, 1975:

Jimmy Hoffa vanishes

Teamsters Union president Jimmy Hoffa is reported missing in Detroit, Michigan. He was last seen alive in a parking lot outside the Machus Red Fox restaurant the previous afternoon. To this day, Hoffa's fate remains a mystery, although many believe that he was murdered by organized crime figures.

By the time of his disappearance, Hoffa had a long and murky career in union politics. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, he became the main focus of government investigations into corruption. In 1962, Hoffa faced misdemeanor charges in Tennessee. He managed to get a mistrial but was convicted two years later for obstruction of justice by tampering with the jury, receiving an eight-year sentence.

In Chicago, Hoffa was tried for fraud in handling Teamster pension funds, convicted, and sentenced to five years in prison. That sentence was commuted by President Richard Nixon in 1971, and despite his criminal record, Hoffa remained a key Teamster figure until his disappearance.

All types of theories have circulated about what became of him. One popular scenario had Hoffa buried beneath a football field at the Meadowlands complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey. One man even claimed credit for his murder in the mid-1980s, saying that he had dumped Hoffa's body in the Au Sable River after killing him. Authorities have never been able to confirm what really happened to Hoffa. He was declared legally dead in 1982.

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