FBI to turn over findings in 1975 disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa to local prosecutors

The Associated Press
Saturday March 30, 2002

DETROIT — The FBI said Friday it will refer its findings in the nearly 27-year-old disappearance of former Teamsters President James R. Hoffa to local prosecutors for possible state charges. 

No federal charges will be filed for now, though they may if more information is uncovered, said Special Agent Dawn Clenney of the FBI’s Detroit office. 

“The FBI will continue the investigation of the Hoffa case. We will run down every lead as we have in the past,” Clenney said. “We think there is a possibility that the state can pursue charges.” 

FBI agents hope to meet with Oakland County Prosecutor David Gorcyca to review the case and discuss whether state charges apply, Clenney said. 

Gorcyca did not immediately return messages seeking comment, but he told The Detroit News he must review every criminal case “whether the person’s last name is Hoffa or Jones.” 

Gorcyca said he couldn’t speculate on the likelihood that his office would bring charges. 

On Thursday, John Bell, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Detroit bureau, told The Detroit News the federal case was stymied because of the time elapsed since Hoffa disappeared from a restaurant parking lot July 30, 1975. 

Clenney, who spoke Friday on Bell’s behalf, declined to elaborate. 

Bell’s comments followed the FBI release of 1,330 pages from its investigative file to the News. Clenney said the timing of the release and the comments on federal charges were coincidental. 

The released documents showed the case still was active as of January, when investigators were pursuing leads in Baltimore and Indianapolis. 

The FBI turned over the entire 3,432 pages from its file to U.S. District Judge Victoria A. Roberts in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The judge will decide what other material, if any, should be released to the public. 

The case returned to the limelight in September, when the News reported DNA evidence placed Hoffa in a car that investigators had long suspected, but were never able to prove, was used in the disappearance. 

The DNA from Hoffa’s hair matched that of a strand of hair found in a borrowed 1975 Mercury Marquis Brougham driven by longtime Hoffa friend Charles “Chuckie” O’Brien the last day Hoffa was seen alive, the report said. 

O’Brien told investigators in 1975 he borrowed the car, owned by the son of reputed Mafia figure Anthony Giacalone, to deliver a frozen salmon to Robert Holmes, then president of Teamsters Local 337. 

The delivery was near the restaurant where Hoffa was supposed to meet with Giacalone and New Jersey Teamsters boss and underworld associate Anthony Provenzano. Neither showed up. Both said no meeting was scheduled. 

O’Brien has denied having anything to do with Hoffa’s disappearance. 

Teamsters President James P. Hoffa, the late union leader’s son, declined comment, a union spokesman said. 

Hoffa’s daughter, Barbara Ann Crancer, a municipal judge in St. Louis, said the FBI volunteered to mail her a copy of the newly released documents. 

“I don’t see this as an ending. I see this as the FBI washing their hands of the situation,” Crancer said Friday. “I plan a wait-and-see attitude until I’ve been able to see the FBI report and analyze what it contains.”