CHICAGO -- Mafia leaders ordered Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa killed, dismembered and entombed in a New Jersey sports stadium because he threatened to expose union-mob ties for federal investigators, Playboy Magazine reported Wednesday.
Hoffa's body was dismembered with a chain saw and stored in a freezer for five months before it was transported from Michigan to New Jersey where the body parts were buried in the cement of Giants Stadium at the Meadowlands construction site in East Rutherford, N.J., the magazine reported in its November edition.
Playboy based its story on an interview with Donald 'Tony the Greek' Frankos, a self-described underworld hit man now in the federal government's witness protection program. Frankos told Playboy he learned the details of the Hoffa killing from John Sullivan and Jimmy Coonan, who visited him while he was in prison. Frankos said Coonan shot Hoffa and dismembered the body. He said Joe Sullivan, no relation to John Sullivan, later disposed of the body.
Coonan and Joe Sullivan are both in prison.
The magazine said it spent seven months checking out Frankos's story.
Hoffa, who was convicted of jury tampering and released from jail in 1971 on the condition he stay out of union business, disappeared on July 30, 1975, from the Machus Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Township, north of Detroit. Investigators presumed him dead but no trace of his body ever was found and no one was ever charged in the disappearance.
Frankos told writer Lake Headley that Hoffa was lured to a Mafia safe house for a meeting with Tony 'Pro' Provenzano, who died earlier this year. The two men had feuded while serving prison terms at the federal penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pa.
Frankos said Hoffa was killed because he threatened to expose the link between the Teamsters and organized crime. He said Provenzano sought permission for the killing from Anthony 'Fat Tony' Salerno, then boss of the Genovese crime family and now in prison, and Salerno wanted to hire Frankos to do the job.
Frankos said he did not participate in the hit because he was in jail.
'John Sullivan mentioned to me that the hit would be going down like this: Tony Provenzano, who was in charge of Local 560 Truckers' Union in Jersey, was one of the most powerful union delegates at the time,' Frankos said. 'But he was also a captain in the Genovese crime family. Tony Pro was doing time with Jimmy Hoffa in Lewisburg Penitentiary. They had a discussion in the yard.
'Jimmy Hoffa says, 'When I come out, I want to go back as a leader of the unions.' Tony Pro says, 'No, we got our man in there right now, so you just step down. You're too hot.'
'They had a big argument and Jimmy Hoffa told him, 'I'll go to the grand jury and I'll expose you and Fat Tony Salerno and I'm going to tell them how you were shaking down our unions and taking money from our union funds to open up criminal enterprises and businesses on your own.' And Jimmy Hoffa smacks Tony Pro in the eye.'
Frankos said the incident angered Provenzano, who later told his brother, Nunzio, 'I want this guy hit.'
Salerno told Detroit organized crime boss Tony Giacalone, Hoffa's Mafia mentor, not to interfere, Frankos told the magazine.
'Fat Tony called Giacalone on the phone and Giacalone said, 'Why don't you leave Hoffa alone, because he's a scared rabbit and once you've scared somebody, they're going to run to the feds on you. And that's why you're trying to do -- force this guy to run to the feds,'' Frankos said.
'Fat Tony told Giacalone, 'He's not running noplace because he's going to be dead. And if you get involved, you're going to be dead also. So step away from him. You gotta take orders from me. I run this show.''
Frankos told Playboy that Hoffa's stepson, Chuckie O'Brien, and Salvatore 'Sally Bugs' Briguglio, picked the union leader up at the restaurant to take him to a meeting with Provenzano. Frankos said when Hoffa objected, O'Brien assured him it was safe.
'In the house, Jimmy Coonan and John Sullivan were waiting,' Frankos said. 'They had a .22 with a silencer on it and the bullets were dumdum bullets -- the type of bullets that explode the head.
'When Hoffa walked in, he made a turn to sit down and Coonan and John Sullivan rushed out and Coonan hit him twice in the forehead with the bullets -- exploded his brains.'
Frankos said Coonan dismembered Hoffa's body with a power saw, placed the parts in black plastic bags and stored the bags in a freezer in the safe house.
'Joe Sullivan came out of prison five months later and he picked up the body and put it in a big drum,' Frankos said. 'Him and another guy named Augie Manori ... transported the body from Michigan to Jersey, where there was a construction site in Meadowlands.
'They were building some sections of Giants Stadium there and wise guys ran the cement-mixing business. ... So he took the body parts and he buried 'em right in the cement.'
Frankos said he and Joe Sullivan later killed Manori to keep him from talking about Hoffa and because Sullivan wanted to marry Manori's wife. He also said Sullivan later killed Briguglio because 'Bugs was a stool pigeon.'
The article said Frankos has put the whole story on tape to preserve it for investigators in case he dies.