Hoffa, Chapter 2 - Mobbed Up

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How do you take down a criminal network? That's hidden in the shadows. How do you rescue child abuse victims? Who could be anywhere in the world hunting warhead a new investigative series from CBC PODCASTS and Norwegian newspaper Vga follows journalists and police on our global mission to expose the darkest corners of the Internet? What they discover shocks them? Listen to hunting warhead at CBC dot ca slash hunting wanting warhead or wherever you get shattered. Today's episode of shattered is brought to you by tubbies Detroit's original steak and cheese since nineteen nineteen sixty eight. We all carried sandbags in our car. Because you put down to three sticks of dynamite to put to sandbags against that blows at inward not outward. That's Joe Franco in an interview. From one thousand. Nine hundred ninety three he was a teamster who worked closely with Jimmy offer offer for over thirty years farming the establishments of employers reluctant to deal with the. teamsters WANNA Franko specialties. He says there were certain and things Hoffa would never ask his agents to do for those things he would turn to the Mafia. I would say that ninety five percent of those in house but the bad stuff was about five percent of dollars but somebody in the hospital that was in house blowing up a truck. That's not going to hurt. Nobody that was is in house. That's all in house. That's all labor but the other stuff that would be considered heavy duty then he would go outside and via the bad stuff. What's bill through killing somebody from from? WD either in Detroit and Graham meaning. My name is Steve Kerr Sheila listening to shatter season. Four Hafa episode two mobbed up you Lopez an extra. That's a talion talion for our thing or this thing of ours. It's had members of the Italian mafia sometimes refer to themselves the roots of La Cosa Nostra MC stretch back to nineteenth century Sicily. Its members began immigrating to the United States and Canada over one hundred years ago and yes La Cosa nostri still exist today. Nowhere near the force they were in the fifties and sixties and seventies but They exist in the shadows. They thrive off on in the background. Like they always have journalist Scott Bernstein. They're very immersed in white collar society they own a lot a legitimate businesses. They still control most of the illegal gambling they still extort and shakedown people in their community. Mostly mostly Italian business owners and what. They have a role in wholesale narcotics trafficking. Bernstein Arnstein says the Detroit. Mafia family still active today are some of the same families. Jimmy Hoffa work with throughout his career. And who may have had something to do with his disappearance families like the Tokyo's Zora lease and the Jack Aloni's you can trace their involvement in the mob. Back to pre prohibition era or Detroit. Now I'm about to give a lot of names and you're not going to remember all of them but I want you to appreciate the long path carved from today back to the roots roots of organized. Crime and Detroit gambling. loansharking a little bit of bootlegging even before prohibition set in and Prostitution Dabble in their political local corruption naturalization scams and you had you know you have a picture of early organized crime in the first two names of note from this era are Joe Zarrella and Bilko. The Tokoza really group came up under the GIANOLA brothers. who were the mob leaders of of Detroit from around nineteen fourteen to nineteen nineteen but in one thousand nine hundred nineteen the first cross town mob? War erupted the main factions. Were the GIANOLA and a lieutenant of there's a guy named Giovanni Bloody John by tally. He wanted to oust his former bosses. The war lasted about a year at the end of the day. Both John Vitality and both Genoa brothers were dead so the Tacos and the rallies who wants drivers and bodyguards. It's for the GIANOLA brothers. Step up and take over the GIANOLA territory on the east side for the most part at least for a while. The city's crime factions all got along. You had the east side game. The westside gang the Cork town game the Lizard gain the river gang and the purple game but then becomes the cross town mob war of nineteen thirty so the Cross town mob war split in the city between the east side and the West side the east side gang was the victors Thursd Dozer Alien Black Bill. Toko defeated been chat Lamar. They assassinated him in his mansion in Hamtramck to control the city in themselves and brought everyone under one banner to the entire city all the individual bootlegging groups and combine them into one organization which became known the combination or the Partnership and Detroit's Modern Day Mafia. In which Hoffa would become entangled was born in the mid one thousand nine hundred thirties. Jimmy Hoffa was a star recruiter for the small. But growing teamsters union the battles that teamsters were engaged in with management mm-hmm and with rival unions sometimes turned ugly so Hoffa turn to the mob. But it's not like they're listed in the yellow pages Hoffa had away in her her name was Sylvia Pagano. She was a mafia paramour. A aspiring actress model that liked to date Italian mobsters. She was married to a a gangster in Kansas City. By the name of Sam Saraceno. They called him the injure at some point. That relationship didn't work out and Soviet Picano circulated to Detroit and began dating mob figures in Detroit. I know that she dated Frankie Three Fingers Coppola. She dated Jimmy Hoffa she dated Tony Jack Aloni Lonnie and that was kind of a way that they all met not all. Investigators agree that Hossan Agawam had an affair but at the very least they knew each other very well and Pagano. was the link between Hossa and guys like Tony Jackett. Loney and Jack Loney is assigned signed to Hoffa At some point in the nineteen forties as kind of his Goto and Jack Loney becomes his main point man and the person that is relaying messages to Hoffa from the mob in the person that Hoffa's relaying messages from the teamsters to the mob Through as well with the Mafia at his back Hoffa is able to stabilize and grow the teamsters space. They weren't nobodies but they weren't the somebody's if it became until they partnered up with the mob and built this Monolithic Empire that you know controlled American commerce. They didn't reach that point of this global domination of labor union activity until they attach their trailer to organized crime was with that muscle behind them and that reach that allow them to grow this thing to massive proportions under Jimmy Hoffa. Jimmy Hoffa became one of the most recognizable people in the world in one thousand nine hundred forty. Six HOFFA was promoted to head up Detroit local to ninety nine and he made a fast climb from there. He took over the Joint Council. He took over the Michigan Conference of teamsters he took over the central states division of the teamsters union and he became National Vice President of the Union in nineteen fifty two under Dave Beck who was president at the time by the Early Nineteen Fifties Hoffa was traveling all over the country. teamsters business he spent a lot of time in New York work where the teamsters hired him personal driver a kid from Canada named Marvin Elkin. Hey Good morning. This is Steve Kerr show in Detroit. Is this Marvin. It's Marvin and appreciate very much. You making time to talk with us today. I appreciate being here. Thank you very much. How was it that you I got hooked up with being Jimmy Hoffa's driver? Here's what happened. I went to New York in nineteen fifty two as a young kid. I got some work done as doing some boxing. I had to help myself about so through a contact. I got a job as a busboy. Boy at the Copa Cabana. which was owned by Barbara Walters father new wealthiest? And as I understand it. You get called over to this table for a conversation. What was that conversation? The conversation was this Tony Salerno called only over Tony. Salerno was a mobster. The genovese crime family and he's dead. We spoke to Lou. Walters Wednesday is your last day here. I said why I'm crying so hard to do. A good job says as of Monday. You are going to be the driver for Mister Jimmy Jimmy Hoffa. I didn't know Mr Hoffa by new reputation. I knew it was a tough guy and I knew he was a guy that you could be in trouble with. If you've got in trouble with them I said to him. I don't WANNA be Mr Hoffa's driver. His answer was nobody's asking you you the first time that you meet Jimmy Hoffa offer. I understand you pick them up Laguardia Airport and you say Good Morning Mister Hoffa. What was that exchange like? I was terrified. I hate it as best I could. I saw Mr half come out. I knew where he was coming out. I had his picture. I drove the car up to him. I opened up the door and I said Good Morning Mister Hoffa he said are you Marvin. I goes yes sir. He said very good answer remember. It's easier Mr Hoffa or shirt. That's how you call me Mr Hall Forrester get into the car. I drove the car and he should go over there. He told me where to drive. I drove the car to a spot. Two guys came out and they got in the back of the car and he said drive the car to spot to turn the engine off I did. She has no Marvin turnaround. I turned it around. Both guys opened their coats to show me they were carrying carrying guns. He says listen to me. Marvin there's rules. And there's cardinal rules. The rules are like this. I don't WanNa hear rainstorm snowstorm thunderstorm. I don't want to hear any of that. I must never be kept waiting when you pick me the APP. You must be on time if you're not on time either. All yellow you or these boys will be to up. That's the rules. Cardinal Art new rules is this I expect one hundred percent loyalty one hundred percent obedience. And what you hear in. This car stays in this car. If that doesn't happen you'll be around the next morning. Do we understand each other. I goes yes sir we do for the next four years. Marvin spent countless hours driving Hoffa and his associates around New York City. Mister Hoffa offer had two great passions in life his union which he really did love and want to do the best or and he was a great family. Man Dan. Mr Hoffa didn't drink. He didn't smoke. He didn't swear in front of people every morning that Cadillac had to be watched and check for bugs and our police officer that came with the machine and check to make sure there were. No you know what I mean by bugs or do you don't mean bugs on the windshield. I'm guessing exactly. I don't mean Joe after we checked at seven. Am I ably pick up Mr Hoffa and we would start today. There was a good reason. HOFFA had elkin check the car for boggs every morning. HOFFA had established relationships with a number of characters suspected of illegal activity. And not just in Detroit all over the country the FBI was watching watching and listening. Hey shattered listeners. Jeremy Allen here I hosted seasons one three of this show. That's not what I'm here to talk about. Steve mentioned at the end of last week show. We're trying something brand new this season. It's a membership program and we're calling it shattered plus you can sign up to hear bonus episodes of shattered this week every week of our new season. This bonus episode is our entire interview with Marvin. Can't we just met in the first half of episode to his life story stretches far beyond his relationship with Hoffa to hear interview with Marvin. The Weasel Elkin yes. That's his nickname in. Yes it's because he did become an FBI informant not for information related to Hoffa though so just so you know here. Marvin story go to our website shattered podcast dot com and click on the shattered plus link. Your membership is what's going to enable us make more seasons of shattered. Thanks that's the sound of Detroit's original original steak and cheese being prepared freshly grilled for you. Warm yourself up with a fresh grilled tubby steak and cheese sub today tasting his believing tubbies tried to original steak and cheese since nineteen sixty nine. toppy says everything you need to make your party. Amazing Tubby sub shops offers catering packages for your office. Parties Earth Day parks special events. Enjoy Monster Party subs party platters salads wings just bake gourmet cupcakes and a whole lot more tubbies cater your next party so you can have more fun. Visit TUBBIES DOT com. They're all the details. What really set off the alarms for the feds was? When they discovered Hoffa had placed the teamsters pension fund in the hands of a guy named Allen Dorfman he was the stepson of Paul Dorfman a Labor racketeer from Soco's waste handlers union with no insurance experience at all Allen Dorfman created the Union Casualty Insurance Company and got the contract from the teamsters my view of the way this work and you know nobody leaves a written record David Whitworth Labor historian but went off was coming up up? He needs the support of teamsters in various centres of the teamsters union power so that would be New York and that would be Chicago and to the extent tat a fair proportion of the teamster leaders in Chicago are associated with organized crime or dominated by organized crime depending on how you want to phrase it then he needs to. He needs to have the support of the outfit. And the way to get the support of the outfit is to get is to provide Paul Dorfman the stepson with ties to the to the teamsters pension fund and then ties to the teamsters benefit. The Pension Fund accumulated ten ten million dollars in its first year of operation. It was the largest private pension fund in the country in the nineteen fifties and so with the approval of Jimmy Hoffa Allen Allen Dorfman began making loans to mob connected individuals with no collateral loans at low or no interest in the entire. Las Vegas Skyline was built on pension fund loans given out by the teamsters central states pension was a piggy it was a mob piggyback from what I gather my research is a pretty easy process. They would tell me what this loan and they would get that loan. Wouldn't there would be no vetting process so you else. In the one thousand nine hundred fifties and sixties and seventies all of the the the casinos in Vegas belong to one my family or the other so Detroit had the frontier than the Detroit had the Aladdin Kansas City at Tropicana Tocado at the Stardust Cleveland had the desert in Essentially Taufa traded money for power are nineteen sixty three sixty percent of the teamsters pension fund was invested in risky real estate ventures ventures and it would be a quid pro quo or hoffa would provide them access to the pension fund and through the Pension Fund. They could take out loans as well as has get jobs through the teamsters union be put into leadership post put into post where you are able to bid rig were able to create slush funds. Were able to shake down other members of the Union former assistant. US Attorney Key. Corbett describes our classic mob shakedown shakedown. If you're a small trucking company and You get approached by somebody uses. We'd like to unionize your trucking company. And you say well it's going to cost me X.. The number of dollars and then somebody says well if you hire this labor relations management company which may have some ties to organized crime. They may be able to keep you from getting unionize. Swallow up the Labor Union Management Company. And they say well you know you pay US ten thousand dollars a month. You're not gonNA have a problem with the Union and you compute that it's GonNa cost you. Twenty thousand dollars with unionized at ten thousand dollars to pay off the Labor management consulting firm. Well who'd you hire you hire them. And through through their connections they make sure the union effort goes away money there were always rowers office connection with the mob and these multimillion dollar our loans but he remained a hero to the rank and file he created health and welfare pension programs. Better job conditions more money for people who never had had it before he brought up wages by more than fifty percent in less than a decade. Not long after Hoffa put the Union Casualty Realty Insurance Agency and his friend Allen Dorfman in charge of the pension fund a Congressman from Michigan. A guy named Clare Hoffman started sniffing around the teamsters. I Hoffman along with a Kansas. Republican win. Smith formed a House subcommittee. They want to look at the teamsters health and Welfare Fund while while testifying Alan and his Stepdad. Paul Dorfman invoke their Fifth Amendment right over one hundred times during testimony win Smith abruptly. Roughly gets up. He leaves the hearing room to go. Take a long distance phone call when he comes. Back Smith announces. The committee. Investigation is over. When asked why Smith points to the ceiling and says the pressure comes from a way up there and I just can't talk about it more specifically Hoffa's people hired as an attorney like the basically the Republican Party leader of of Kansas like they made a deal with someone who was politically powerful? They're not a bribe per se. But suddenly he was there attorney and then the notion is that guy contacted went Smith and said now. It's time to stop the hearings. Jimmy Hoffa had alluded government investigators. But he was mad. He suspected that somebody inside the Detroit. TEAMSTER headquarters had had been informing on him so he reached out the guy. Who knew all about wiretaps John Deere? Gordie is better known as Johnny deal one of the most notorious. Oh yes mobsters in New York City back in the nineteen thirties. The Oh did some time at sing. Sing for extorting trucking companies. When he got out he got into the garment? Industry is a union officer. That's how he got to know. Jimmy Hoffa deal hooked Hoffa up with somebody who would bug the phones of Hoffa staff that way he could keep closer tabs on now. I grew up in New York. I never met Johnny deal but I came to find out that he and his family actually lived in our neighborhood hood. When I was a kid I went to school with one of his sons and never thought much about the awards but I got to admit? I often wonder about the six or eight black limousines parked in front of their house once a month. I thought they just had fancy parties. I never asked. I found out some years later. Who the head of that family was? Johnny Johny deal so notorious in the nineteen fifties. A character in a famous movie is based on him. Bill go get your Loda now. I'm challenging president from your uncle on. The waterfront is a classic starring Marlon Brando as a morally conflicted documenting. You don't understand Democrat class. Contaminant the evil union boss. Johnny friendly is based on Johnny deal. You'll come from green green point you don't work in on. The waterfront is a great great movie but Johnny Deals Real Life was even more nefarious than Hollywood could depict. In nineteen fifty five Hafa help bring a number of of new york-based teamster locals into the Union and those locals were chartered by Johnny deal. These were shady outfits known as paper locals. Typically there were no actual workers just friends family and often criminal associates of deal. Paper locals were often used for extortion. Abortion fraud bribes or to keep a real union locked out of a business in the case of the deal locals they were also allegedly used to swing votes in a critical teamster election toward a union. Rally Back Jimmy Hoffa HOFFA's ties to do attracted a lot of unwanted attention especially after what happened to a Labor journalist late one night in the spring of Nineteen fifty six and he says I was attacked because of the racketeers because of my crusading efforts arts center and they won't stop me. You know they can. They can blind me but I can still go after them with my typewriter that attack which will get into in the next episode galvanized the Senate and a young hungry. Bobby Kennedy go after Hoffa and the teamsters in a big way the Jimmy Hoffa ever talk about the Kennedys. Talk about Bobby Kennedy. He spoke about Bobby Kennedy all the time with great hate. He thought he came from a very bad family and he was raised where everything he's thought with right and they went way beyond politics coming up in the next episode sort of shattered the Kennedy Hop bloodfeud nothing. Admitting I don't perform any of them I don't the top of the international dooming. Shattered is produced an edited by Jeremy Allen. Anzac Rosa to help support this show which took US months and months to may become a member of shattered plus. It's just three ninety nine a month or twenty five dollars for the year here. How you're going to beat that? Go to our website shattered. PODCAST DOT COM click on the shattered plus link. You'll get access to bonus interviews like the one we we did this week with Marvin the Weasel Elkin. The Story Marvin tells about being threatened by gangster. Meyer Lansky is worth the price of admission by itself in the the Jewish language. There's a saying called. Cut Ish it saying for the departed. He says if you don't get knocked out in the first four. Have somebody say kite headache for. You are becoming shattered plus member. You also get access to this season's episodes without ads. Thanks we'll talk to you next time

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