DETROIT, Sept. 10 -- Charles "Chuckie" O'Brien reportedly refused to take a polygraph test about the disappearance of his adopted father, former Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa.
Interest in the case heated up after FBI scientists matched DNA from a strand of hair found in a car O'Brien drove the day Hoffa disappeared 26 years ago with hair from Hoffa's brush.
Attorney William Bufalino II told Monday's Detroit Free Press that O'Brien had received a handwritten letter from FBI agent Andrew Sluss, saying he did not consider O'Brien a suspect in the case and trying to convince O'Brien he could clear his name if he passed a lie detector test.
Hoffa, 62, vanished July 30, 1975. He was last seen outside the Machus Red Fox restaurant near Detroit. He told people he was meeting with reputed Detroit mob boss Anthony "Tony Jack" Giacalone and reputed New Jersey mob boss and Teamsters leader Anthony "Tony Pro" Provenzano.
Both Giacalone and Provenzano have denied any meeting had been set up. Hoffa's body has never been found.
"Passing the FBI test will allow me to focus the investigation in the proper direction," Sluss said in his letter to O'Brien.
Bufalino said, however, his client will not submit to the test. It was the second time in a month O'Brien had received such a request. FBI agents showed up at his home in Boca Raton, Fla., three weeks ago with a similar request.
Bufalino said the FBI had matched the hair more than a year ago, but bureau officials said the match occurred shortly before a November meeting on the case.
O'Brien, 66, has repeatedly denied Hoffa was ever in the Mercury Marquis Brougham he had borrowed from the son of reputed Detroit mob boss Tony Giacalone.
"I have my theories about what happened but the FBI has always poo-poohed them, and whenever I've tried to help, I get my brains bashed in," he told the Palm Beach Post.
"This disappearance has me hurting, too," O'Brien told the Detroit News.
"I loved this man more than anything. My thought has always been that this could be solved and I agree with Jimmy (current Teamsters President James P. Hoffa) that they deserve closure."
O'Brien has said he was running errands the day Hoffa disappeared, delivering a 40-pound fish to Teamsters International Vice President Robert Holmes' home. He said he stayed to help Holmes' wife cut up the fish and then took the car, which he had borrowed from Giacalone's son, Joe, for gas and a thorough cleaning because blood from the fish had leaked onto the back seat.
He then allegedly headed for the Southfield Athletic Club to join the elder Giacalone and later returned the car to the son.
FBI documents, however, indicate no one at the athletic club or the car wash recognized O'Brien's picture.
Investigators have long suspected O'Brien and two Provenzano underlings drove off with Hoffa in the back seat of the car. Giacalone and Provenzano are both dead.
Hoffa's family has long suspected O'Brien had a role in the disappearance, saying he was one of the few people who could have convinced Hoffa to get into a car.
"His (O'Brien's) actions were so suspicious on this day," Hoffa said. "He couldn't account for where he was on this important day. Obviously, this brought suspicion."
Hoffa said he hasn't spoken with O'Brien since his father disappeared.
The younger Hoffa's sister, Barbara Crancer, a St. Louis judge, thinks O'Brien had something to do with her father's disappearance but doesn't think the hair will help.
"I just feel it isn't enough. You face Mr. O'Brien with this new evidence and he says my story remains the same -- then where are you? This is not sufficient to prosecute Mr. O'Brien."
"I think he was one of the people, that his activities were somewhat suspicious on the day that it happened, the day that my dad disappeared," Crancer said. There has been conjecture he was tricked into being an accomplice. She said, "If he was part of this, I hope that he did not know ahead of time."NEWLN: