DETROIT, July 16 (UPI) -- Jack Tocco, the low-key businessman described by federal prosecutors as the head of the Detroit mob, has died at 87.
Tocco lived quietly, denying ties to organized crime, although he was convicted of racketeering in 1998. His death was also quiet, announced Monday on the website of Bagnasco & Calcaterra Funeral Home in Sterling Heights, Mich.
But Tocco was the son of William "Black Bill" Tocco and nephew of Joseph Zerilli, the men alleged to have founded and run the mob in Detroit in the 1930s. Experts say he inherited their power.
Tocco was allegedly running the organization in 1975 when Jimmy Hoffa, president of the Teamster Union, vanished.
"He knew all the secrets and where the bodies were buried, including Hoffa's," Dan Moldea, author of The Hoffa Wars, told the Detroit Free Press. "Jack Tocco had to check off on this murder. It happened in his jurisdiction."
A graduate of the University of Detroit, Tocco was president of Melrose Linen Supply. He lived in Grosse Pointe Park with his wife and children, and attended his sons' Little League games.
Lawyer Keith Corbett was the assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted Tocco.
"He didn't talk on the telephone, he did most of his business face to face," Corbett told the Free Press. "There were very few instances where we were able to get him on a wiretap or a bug."
While Tocco was convicted of racketeering and conspiracy and could have been sentenced to decades in federal prison, he eventually served about two years. Up to that point he had a clean record, except for a 1965 conviction for being caught at a cock fight.