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PLAYBOY INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES PROVIDE HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE ON TEAMSTER BOSS JIMMY HOFFA

 CHICAGO, Dec. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Long before Danny DeVito and Jack Nicholson joined forces to bring "Hoffa" to the silver screen, Playboy magazine twice visited with controversial Teamsters boss James Riddle Hoffa, to get his version of the events that shaped the history of labor in America.
 "Reporters are gangsters with a pencil instead of a gun," Hoffa told Mike Wallace in the November 1963 issue of Playboy. "They distort, deceive, tell half-truths and complete lies...I am not naive enough and will not accept that there is such a thing as a free press in America. Most (labor reporters) are controlled by the antilabor policies of their papers."
 At their first meeting, Hoffa, clearly skeptical of the media, told Wallace, "You have half an hour. Start talking." Wallace, who was uncredited in the magazine as Hoffa's inquisitor, eventually conducted two sessions totaling four hours with the labor leader.
 In 1964, Hoffa's long-standing rivalry with Robert F. Kennedy culminated in a 13-year jail sentence for jury tampering, mail and wire fraud and misuse of union pension funds. Hoffa served nearly five years before his sentence was commuted by President Richard Nixon in 1971.
 Four years later, on July 30, 1975, Hoffa disappeared after leaving his home to attend a meeting with alleged mobster Anthony Giacalone and former Teamster vice-president Anthony Provenzario. Before he vanished, however, he had spoken at length for Playboy with Jerry Stanecki, an investigative reporter for Detroit radio station WXYZ. Hoffa's second Playboy interview appeared in the magazine's December 1975 issue.
 "I don't believe there is any organized crime, period," Hoffa told Stanecki. "Never believed it. I've said it for the last 40 years. Hoover said it! He said there was no Mafia, no so-called organized crime."
 The December 1975 issue of Playboy also featured "It Gets Dark Every Night," Stanecki's account of the search for Hoffa.
 "Police, the FBI and reporters close to the case...think Hoffa was murdered because of his public struggle to regain the presidency of the International Teamsters Union," Stanecki wrote. "As to the Mob figures involved, the Hoffa family, at least, thinks it knows who they are."
 Playboy's coverage of the Hoffa legend continued in November 1978 with the publication of "The Hoffa Wars," an article by investigative journalist Dan E. Moldea (The Detroit Free Press, NBC News), based on his book of the same name. Moldea suggested that Hoffa's death was possibly linked to "his alleged role in the plots to murder Fidel Castro -- plots that involve figures linked for the first time to events surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy.
 "One aspect of the theories linking Hoffa and Kennedy, however, goes far beyond speculation: the cold statistics that represent the flaming heat that the Kennedy Administration brought to bear on Hoffa's criminal empire and on organized crime in general," Moldea writes.
 Then, after many theories and years of speculation, a November 1989 Playboy article called "The Hit on Jimmy Hoffa" offered the location of Hoffa's final resting place: Giants Stadium, the Meadowlands, N.J.
 Freelance mob hitman Donald "Tony the Greek" Frankos, at the time a government witness in the New York trial of alleged crime boss John Gotti, contacted Playboy from prison; he eventually told private investigator Lake Headley that he knew who killed Hoffa -- and why.
 Frankos said he told the FBI in 1986 that Hoffa was shot to death by Irish mob boss Jimmy Coonan in a Mafia "safe house" near Detroit, the same day he disappeared from his scheduled meeting with Giacalone and Provenzano. He said Coonan dismembered Hoffa's body with a power saw and stored the pieces in a freezer. Five months later, Frankos said, Joe Sullivan packed the body in a drum and drove it to New Jersey.
 "They were building some sections of Giants Stadium there, and (some) wise guys (were involved in) the cement-mixing business," said Frankos. "So (Sullivan) took the body parts and he buried em right in the cement."
 Frankos also confirmed investigators' theories that Hoffa was killed because he threatened to expose the link between the Teamsters' Union and organized crime.
 Fact or fiction, the story of Hoffa's disappearance, death and burial have long fascinated countless popular culture observers and conspiracy theorists. From the beginning, Playboy was there to chronicle the life and times of America's most influential and controversial labor leader.
 -0- 12/18/92
 /CONTACT: Bill Paige of Playboy, 312-751-8000, ext. 2465/


CO: Playboy Enterprises ST: Illinois IN: PUB SU:

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Date:Dec 18, 1992
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