BOSTON -- Robert F. Kennedy's 'blind ambition to build a political dynasty' led him to push former Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa from power and paved the way for the mob to take over the union, a former Hoffa aide claims.
Alex Byron, who married into the Hoffa family and was at one time a consultant to the union, told The Boston Herald in a story published Sunday that Kennedy wanted Hoffa out of power, although he knew the mob would take over.
Hoffa was last seen July 30, 1975 -- 10 years ago Tuesday -- when he was getting into a car at a restaurant in a Detroit suburb, on his way to a peace meeting with reputed mobster Tony Provenzano, a member of the Genovese family.
The feud began when Hoffa was replaced as Teamsters president by Frank Fitzsimmons, who worked for Provenzano, Byron said.
Kennedy, a former U.S. attorney general, regarded Hoffa as a corrupt leader who had Mafia ties and had placed the union leader behind bars, Byron said.
'In the end, it was Bobby Kennedy who (knowingly) delivered the Teamsters to the mob' by jailing Hoffa, he said.
Similar claims by Hoffa supporters in the past have been discounted by various former Justice Department officials who have said there was no alternative to prosecuting Hoffa.
'Bobby Kennedy knew Fitzsimmons was a weakling, and (he knew) once Jimmy Hoffa went to jail, Fitz wouldn't be able to stop the mob from taking over the union,' Byron said. 'Bobby knew only Hoffa could prevent that.
'But it was Bobby's blind ambition to build a political dynasty for the Kennedys that inspired him to go after Hoffa.'
Byron claims Kennedy put Hoffa behind bars as a political payoff to AFL-CIO President George Meany, who had backed the 1960 presidential bid of Kennedy's brother, John.
'Meany was afraid of Hoffa. He thought Jimmy at the time was going to take over the AFL-CIO,' he said.
Byron said recent Hollywood movies have portrayed the missing union boss as evil, while painting a rosy picture of Kennedy. 'Bobby Kennedy wasn't the good, clean guy on the white horse, and Hoffa (wasn't) the evil, outlaw union boss.'
Federal investigators and Hoffa's family and friends believe the missing union boss was murdered and his body incinerated at a Detroit-area waste disposal plant.