tv The Evening Edit FOX Business December 24, 2019 6:00pm-7:01pm EST
greatest mystery in american history. a hot july afternoon nearly 92 degrees when the
teamster's boss james riddle hoffa simply vanished. july 30, 1975 hoffa was last seen in this parking lot of the machumachus red fox just outside detroit. he's thought to be on his way to a mob meeting with tony provenzano. a bitter enemy. they were supposed to settle a feud involving money. but instead, hoffa was never seen again. 26 years later a phone call would put me right in the middle of the hoffa search. today authorities from the oakland county prosecutor's
office went into this house and took up the floor boards. and now that quest for answers has
brought me back again. eric: i'm eric shawn. for much of my career i investigated the mafia. but this story has been one that's especially haunted me for almost two decades. the disappearance of jimmy hoffa and the death bed confession of frank sheeran. he was one of the handful of official suspects in the case. >> is that frank? this is jimmy hoffa. eric: sherren's story is the focus of "the irishman." i knew sherren. i met him in 2001 when he was trying to sell his book proposal. he told me point blank he shot jimmy hoffa in this house in
detroit. but to understand the story of jimmy hoffa we need to start at the beginning. detroit, michigan was the beating heart of industrial might. with a commerce that created the american century and revolutionized human history was manufactured on countless factory floors. it's where millions labored on the assembly lines. in fact the very machinery that propelled the united states of america to its leadership role in the world came from this place. steel and sweat and blood sacrificed in the service of our nation. as modern america was being shaped by the men and women of detroit, the labor unions were born to protect them. the unions became as powerful as the giant employers they aimed to confront in the name of the
working man. the battle between labor and business was often fought on the streets of detroit. >> some cruel and short-managed management hired strong arm men to break up strikes. eric: james riddle hoffa became the face of the labor movement. >> he comes to detroit as the age of mass production is exploding. it's an era where businesses and workers are literally fight together death in the streets over how the divisions of the spoils of capitalism will be split. >> at the age of 18 work for low wages, terrible conditions he organized a fight. >> often getting beat over the head. there would be people shot at union events. organized crime, the predatory business, and hoffa through his
toughness and intelligence was able to rise to the top. eric: during the 1930s and 40s, hoffa came up through the ranges. >> he arguably built the teamsters into a potent labor force. but he also had fatal flaws. he's the guy who let the mob into the union. eric: to the men and women he represented he was a hero fighting for the little guys. for the leaders of the mob he was a potential partner. >> where were you when you met jimmy hoffa for the first time. >> in detroit. >> what was the nature of our business in detroit. >> another wedding. >> russell bufalino mentioned jimmy hoffa. he developed his own connections with the detroit family which bufalino was close to, too.
eric: hoffa with us elected president of the international union of teamsters. >> he used the influence of his union to throw favors to gangsters to in turn solved problems for him. eric: it turns out working with gangsters was profitable. >> all of his deal weather underworld brought about the congressional and federal investigations that ultimately proved his undoing. eric: on capitol hill the senate committee targeted mobsters and their ties to labor leaders. future president john f. kennedy and his brother robert targeted hoffa. >> robert kennedy and hoffa despised each other. >> if you say that s.o.b., i'll
break his back. >> who? >> to anyone, did you make that statement? >> despite facing multiple indictments, and facing jail time he was overwhelmingly elected teamsters president. when he headed to miami for the 1957 convention, he was greeted as a hero. putting hoffa behind bars was so important to the kennedys it became a campaign pledge of jfk during the 1960 presidential race. >> i'm not satisfied when i see men week jimmy hoffa in charge of the largest union in the united states and still free. eric: john f. kennedy became the 35th president of the united states and quickly appointed his brother bobby as attorney general. >> he was eating mafia dries for breakfast. when he became attorney general he started eating them for lunch
and dinner, too. eric: rfk's mission was to destroy organized crime and he created the get hoffa squad. in 1964 jimmy hoffa was finally convicted of bribery and fraud. even as a convicted felon awaiting sentencing in 1966 he was he elected as head of the teamsters. >> he said his attorneys will continue his fight while he's in jail. parole is possible in 32 months. >> he went to prison at lewisburg where he met anthony provenzano. >> provenzano was an old school mobster. they are on move a yeah row in the prison and have an argument
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feud with tony provenzano was at its height, he still tried to get release from prison. >> the parole board wouldn't let him out. eric: it's tough to run an international organization from behind bars. so a hoffa ally was chosen and that would prove to be a fateful decision. >> fitzsimmons becomes president in his own right in 1971. >> frank fitzsimmons went to the administration of richard nixon and worked out a pardon deal. >> they are trying to curry favor for the 1972 reelection bid. they are going to release hoffa from jail, he got a commutation from richard nixon but as a favor to frank fitzsimmons there
are conditions. >> part of the deal is to not try to assume the leadership of the teamsters until 1980. he spend the next few years trying to regain the leadership. >> they are not able to change the restriction of 1980. we have gathered information sufficient for a lawsuit. >> hoffa was closed out institutionally for coming back. >> until we get the final decision i don't lose hope we'll win the case. >> hoffa started blaming the mafia and the feam teamsters and others he thought were double crossing him. eric: he wanted to regain the top spot, but to do so he needed allies. so he turned to the mafia, one
was ralph natali. >> you were good friends with jimmy hoffa. >> i worked for jimmy in different matters. eric: did you ever kill for jimmy hoffa? >> i took care of his problems. that's what i did. >> he said he came to see him in 1975 to ask him a favor. >> and you knew what that meant if he ran. he was going to get killed. the mafia wouldn't allow him to go with that other punk that was running it, fits i am modges. they owned him. >> so he started talking, he was talking to the grand jury and congressional committees and journalists. word on the street was that jimmy hoffa was making too much noise. >> here is hoffa fighting to get his union back.
here is tony provenzano trying to keep him from getting his union back, and here is hoffa making a lot of noise that once he gets his hands on the records he's going to show how the current president is in bed with the mob. eric: did you think hoffa was going to get killed? >> i felt it in my bones. eric: hoffa abrok -- awoke july, his last. the house on the lake was his quite escape from the rough and tumble world of the teamsters. that morning he was preparing for the most important meeting of his life. he head for the machus red fox
restaurant, but the meeting would never take place. >> james hoff a jra was last set this restaurant. >> he was either taken or is mission. >> he was swallowed from sight. >> it took time to digest. the newsroom was upside down. >> my father james r. hoffa has been missing. he left for an appointment at machus red fox restaurant july 30, 1975. eric: though hoffa never made it inside, he was going there he thought to make peace with his nemesis, tony provenzano. >> a guy who threatened to rip hoffa's guts out and threatened
to kill hoffa's grandchildren. eric: the meeting was arranged by russell bufalino. and arranged by tony giacalone. >> his car was found in this parking lot. eric: witnesses said he was seen pacing around in the parking lot and he was angry. according to two witnesses a 1975 mercury marquis pulled up to the restaurant and hoffa steaming hopped in. >> as he went out for two or three days and the federal prosecutors were coming in dropping flames. i think i clearly got the impression this would and professional hit and i wondered then and wondered today if we were ever going to solve it.
>> the people look for jimmy hoffa's body, the depth of the hole seems to be increasing according to this one. >> i remember going out to the site. it was a vacant field. in comes the backhoe. by the time i left a half-hour later it looked like the surface of the moon. >> with the information we have we are satisfied we are not going to find anything in this area. >> behind this barn, down thera in the concrete at the renaissance center web's in a ball field at a football stadium. eric: hoffa was nowhere to be found. but the feds quickly zeros in on the top suspects, tony provenzano and the andretta brothers steven and thomas and the briguglio brothers. a federal grand jury was emand
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[♪] >> this late date after the time that's gone by. i think it's clear my father has been assassinated. i think all this was part of a calculated plot by whoever did this, it was a highly organized endeavor. >> briguglio, and the even drettas are suspects in the case. >> tony's right-hand man was involvedn in many murders. >> he was provenzano's hitman. steve stayed behind with tony provenzano to give him an alibi. they were playing cards in the teamster's hall. >> they were very close to tony provenzano. eric: but one name made it
quietly on to the fbi list of suspects. francis joseph frank sheeran. he also took the fifth when he was sum mond. it wasn't until months later that the memo and the irishman's name leaked out. i said what's the hofx report? >> he said jimmy hoffa. and i said who is frank sheeran. eric: he was teamster's local president in delaware. he claimed in a book proposal that he shot jimmy hoffa. >> they wanted to hire me in my medicolegal capacity to see if i can get early medical parole for frank the irishman sheeran. eric: sheeran caught the
attention of jimmy hoffa. >> you heard of sheeran's talents in strand wishing people. hoff a made the introduction and hoffa got sheeran to rid his enemies, too. eric: so half a century later that the story surfaced that irishman claimed he killed jimmy hoffa, i knew i had to investigate. charlie brandt had been quietly interviews sheeran for a long time. eric: who shot jimmy hoffa? >> frank the irishman sheeran for sure. i didn't just have it on the witness stand for an afternoon. by the time i brought him to you i had him for years. how many shots were fired sat jimmy. >> two. >> you were the shooter? >> yes. he worshiped hoffa. he was forced to do it by the
mob and russell bufalino. eric: i met frank in the spring of 2001. he said he shot hoffa two times behind the right ear in this house in detroit. he spent years denying any involvement in the hoffa case. but over time began to slowly open up. what would you say to someone who says you made it up. this is not true, you just wanted to sell a book. >> first of all, understand basic principles of confession and corroboration. satisfied over and over again. eric: on his death bed frank backed up the book. >> you read this book about jimmy and what happened to him and things you told me, is that right? >> that's right. >> you stand behind them. >> right. eric: an exclusive from detroit, michigan. >> i'm standing in front of the
house in which the admitted killer of jimmy hoffa says he pumped two bullets into the back of jimmy hoffa's head. eric: we hired investigators and took up tiles put over the house's hardwood floor 20 years ago. and luminol was sprayed on the floor. >> indications of possible blood here in the hallway that seems to match sheeran's story. the technicians found the greatest amount in the foyer where the book said hoffa was shot. the fbi determined it was blood, but it was not hoffa. >> jimmy hoffa was excluded as a possibility from that blood sample. eric: for years i believed
sheeran. but new information has emerged about what may have happened. i discovered this department of justice memo that said someone else killed hoffa, sal sally bugs briguglio. did frank sheeran kill jimmy hoffa? >> no. not in a million years. eric: they didn't think they would get the dna. does it mother you there is no dna match to jimmy hoffa? >> no. eric: does a lack of d dna disprove sheer snn. >> no, of course not. a compelling new tip came my way about a familiar name.
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eric: after our special "riddle" that viewed on foxnation. i continued to report on the fox news channel. it turned out that out of the millions watching our coverage, one viewer proved to be the most important. -that viewer 0 worked with ed barnes, a noted investigative journalist. the nation's predominant hoffa expert. we met in new jersey at the colonial diner across the river from new york city. >> i'm sitting in my office after the show aired. and there is a message from phil moscato, jr. p. it says hi, mr. sean, please
contact me. i said i know that name. i started thinking he knows or could know where the body is. phil moscato, jr. who is also known as brother moscato. >> he was a high-level associate of the genovese family. eric: he group the genovese family. he called them his uncles and cousins. he believes hoffa was buried in his father's dumb site. it was full of toxic chemicals and waste and was known as moscato's dump. you will find the knowledge meadowlands, within sight of new
york city that has long been a traditional dumping ground for victims of the mafia. you heard the joke that jimmy hoffa is buried here in the shadow of the giants stadium. ironically as it turns out that punch line may not be that far off. moscato says hoffa's body was brought back to new jersey on the orders of tony provenzano. >> do you know where jimmy hoffa is buried? >> absolutely. eric: where is jimmy hoffa buried? >> i can't give you that right now. eric: why not? >> there is a little bit more to be done first. eric: when we finally met i found a warm and engaging 52-year-old demolition contractor living in florida but not leaving behind his jersey accent or attitude.
while it is clear he re veers his dad web's overwhelmed by the secret they shared. eric: did your dad say who shot jimmy hoffa a? >> yes,. eric: was it sally bugs briguglio? >> yes. eric: the bureau was unable to charge him because he was shot three years after hoffa disappeared. >> salvatore briguglio, police suspected was involved with the underworld. yesterday he was killed in manhattan's little italy. and law enforcement officials say he arranged for the murder of the teamster boss james hoffa. eric: phil says higgs father
finally -- says his father finally came clean about jimmy hoffa before he passed away. he was real uncomfortable on the bed. we sat him up straight on the bed and he says itch a few things i want to talk to you about. then he drops the bombshell and he gave me a location where jimmy hoffa is buried. they sent him down to us, the body. it was jersies thing, they wanted him here. eric: you are saying tony pro. >> he put it all together. eric: why did tony pro want hoffa in the ground in new jersey. eric: tony pro wanted the body brought back to new jersey. >> it was a thing between them
that the body come back to new jersey. it's a jersey thing. there is a jersey guy in control. eric: even though hoffa is dead. too yes it's a control freak. i think it was more he wanted to have him in jersey. that was his trophy. and everybody understands. you know, that's how i went down back then. eric: but he insists on keeping the address to himself for now. so dan and i were left on our own to unravel the clues and find the location of jimmy hoffa's body. the new jersey link to hoffa's demise came from his former driver ralph bacardo. he was serving 20 years for second degree murder. police say he had a prison visit
from two of the hoffa suspects, tommy and steven andretta. and steven told bacardo how the hoffa hit went down. but what he told him in private caused ralphy to go to the feds. >> he tells him hoffa is murdered. he's stuffed into a 55 gallon drum. he's load on to a gateway transformation truck and shipped back to new jersey. he said the place we buried bodies was brother moscato's dump. eric: i am thinking put him in a barrel, they didn't put him in a body bag. the barrel makes sense. the barrel makes sense. because
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battery out of the cup' that night before the fbi showed up to get him. >> the provenzano crew decided to go red alert and get the body out of there. eric: but where would the drum holding his body go? i identified two locations. one a paid parking lot and abandoned. i thought the easiest place would be another moscato property or one of his restaurants. which is how we got to the gentleman's cabaret stiletto. but what was then the strip club, the bench. i drove to trenton, new jersey to visit the investigators who would know about moscato and the bench. in 192 the agency -- in 1992 there was a massive report on bars and restaurants.
and on page 14 there was his name. >> organized crime had a foothold in licensed establishments in new jersey. it was owned by a lawyer robert dupora. >> they were business lawyers, but it didn't prevent them from dealing with mobsters. >> in this situation they developed business relationships with them. eric: they happened upon a wildly vacant field in the patterson plank. it is an elegant address with a very shady past.
the property is for sale. it's the site of an abandoned restaurant, marina and golf driving range. years earliered site had been a seaplane base and marina. one month after hoffa disappeared, the land was sold to a company called 1300 marina associates. in 1975 i'm told the land was unused. abandoned. people without the land owner's permission use it as a makeshift parking lot. and the parking lot was not paved. it was only dirt and soil. in 1988 a come snid called river associates bod the property. some of the local mobsters including brother moscato had been the lawyer's clients.
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lane? it seems there may have been some mention. but it was never in the realm of reality. eric: so some say there were rumors jimmy hoffa is buried here 15 feet down in a hole dug by a backhoe like this one that was borrowed from the nearby giant stadium construction site. this 1976 you much department memo marked very sensitive said bug * wa.said briguglio was in a backhoe the day after jimmy hoffa disappeared. then frank capola says it was
his father who accepted jimmy hoffa's body and buried him in the dump. eric: you are saying jimmy hoffa's body was brought in. >> he couldn't get the legs to bend right so they had to put him in head first. he said he had a lot of respect for him. what he said was they couldn't fit the man in feet first. he said without showing disrespect for hoffa. eric: you are saying your father buried jimmy hoffa. >> yes, and he was upset all his life over it that he was put in that position. but he knew if you don't do it, that's the end of you. eric: the story is corroborated. hoffa brought to new jersey. but the next step is up to prosecutors. will they start a dig?
the family, th the teamsters and the american people need the answer. >> it's the biggest mystery in americana and this is a case that has to be solved. >> some of the best confessions you get later on. people grow old. alliances change. whether they come forward openly or whisper in the ear of law enforcement officials it does happen. eric: would you support a dig? >> absolutely. if we get to the point where we are going to tell and my confidence is high that it's le why it matily the spot, yes. eric: is phil moscato right, was jimmy hoffa's body driven 1,600 miles from detroit to new jersey to be buried at tony pro's
trophy? with phil willing to go to authorities and the evidence mounting, the search for jimmy hoffa may end up in the meadowlands. lou: good evening. president trump energetically rallying enthusiastic supporters in battle creek, michigan and around the country for that matter last night. the democratic party did wait has done for the past three years. the radical dimms and the leftist media concocted more bizarre and sinister narratives. speaker pelosi declared she would hold up articles of impeachment the dimms had passed within senator mitch mcconnell declared nancy pelosi would be afraid to send the shodd