In a new book by journalist Adrian Humphreys, Jimmy Hoffa's onetime driver Marvin Elkind claims that the Teamsters boss was buried in Detroit in the foundation of its most iconic building — the Renaissance Center, current world headquarters of General Motors. The book is called "The Weasel: A Double Life in the Mob" — and here, for the first time, exclusively, is that full, chilling excerpt. —Ed.
IN THE YEARS to come, Marvin would think about his old boss many times. It was impossible not to, once Jimmy Hoffa disappeared, sparking one of the most enduring modern mysteries. As Hoffa became a pop-culture emblem, in death even more than in life, Marvin would marvel at the time he had spent with him in the car.
Marvin is certain he knows what happened to his old boss and where his body was hidden.
After Marvin left him, Hoffa's life continued on a trajectory of confrontation. He became the general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in 1958. In 1964, he was convicted of jury tampering, attempted bribery and fraud, and sentenced to 13 years in prison, eventually stepping down as president. In 1975, Hoffa was fighting to regain control of the union. The executive tried to dissuade him by offering him a lifetime pension, but, as Marvin says, Hoffa craved power and influence more than money.
On July 30, 1975, Hoffa left for a meeting with Anthony Giacalone, a Mafia boss from Detroit known as "Tony Jack," one of the union's main contacts with the Mafia, and Anthony Provenzano, known as "Tony Pro," the Mafia captain and Teamsters leader who had made Marvin Hoffa's driver two decades before. Hoffa has not been seen since. He was declared legally dead but his body was never found.
"It was his own people who did it. Mr. Hoffa gave them no choice. He was very close with Tony Jack and everybody knows that he provided the trigger man. Tony Jack told me. He didn't say ‘Marvin, I provided the trigger man.' But he told me in another way," Marvin says.
Ten years after Hoffa disappeared, Marvin was at a four-day Teamsters conference at the newly opened Omni International Hotel in Detroit. He was there as an errand boy and security man. Tony Jack was among the delegates.
"Let's take a break, let's get out of here," Tony Jack said during the meeting. An entourage of intimates got up with him. The hotel was across the road from the Renaissance Center, but the two were connected by a long glassed-in walkway that stretched across the 10 lanes and wide centre median of East Jefferson Avenue. Marvin walked beside Tony Jack because he was carrying his orange juice and standing ready to light his cigar.
When Tony Jack passed the middle point of the bridge, facing the Renaissance Center, he nodded toward the huge tower's foundation.
"Say good morning to Jimmy Hoffa, boys," he said.
Marvin is sure Hoffa's body rests in the concrete footing of the Renaissance Center, which was under construction at the time of his disappearance. The story Marvin heard from Detroit mobsters is that after Hoffa was snatched and killed, practically every union carpenter in and around the city was called in to rush the construction of wooden forms needed for pouring concrete at the Renaissance project. As soon as the forms were in place, the concrete flowed, tons of it; ahead of schedule. Never before or since has he heard of his union brothers working so diligently to get a project done.
"There was a mad rush to get the concrete poured," Marvin says. At some point, he says, someone slipped Hoffa's body into the wet cement, where it was encased beneath what is now Detroit's most visible landmark.
Reprinted by permission of the publisher, John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd., from The Weasel: A Double Life in the Mob, by Adrian Humphreys Copyright © 2011 by Adrian Humphreys