Back in June 2013, FBI agents undertook a major dig on a property in northern Oakland County in search of Jimmy Hoffa's body. They were following up on a tip from an ex-Detroit mobster Anthony (Tony Z) Zerilli.
They came up empty, and it appeared at the time that was likely to be the last dig for Hoffa, who disappeared from the Machus Red Fox on Telegraph Road in Bloomfield Township in July 1975.
"I think that's the last one," former federal mob prosecutor Keith Corbett told Deadline Detroit at the time. “It’s embarrassing for the bureau.”
But now Dan Moldea, an investigative reporter and Hoffa expert, and occasional contributor to Deadline Detroit, says he may have evidence where Hoffa is really buried.
Could another Hoffa dig be in the future?
In a Fox News column, Moldea writes that he believes the body may be buried in a former Jersey City, N.J., landfill known as "Brother Moscato’s Dump."
Moldea, author of The Hoffa Wars" (1978), writes that he got the information from Frank Cappola, whose father owned a waste management company in New Jersey. Cappola signed a sworn affidavit in October about Hoffa, and he went with Cappola to the site not long ago.
"After closely scrutinizing Cappola’s story, his version of events was something very special and unique. In fact, during my forty-four years of investigating Hoffa’s fate, Cappola’s information was the most promising I had ever seen or heard with regard to a possible site of the grave for the ex-Teamsters boss. It just felt right."
"As a consequence of having covered this saga since Hoffa disappeared on July 30, 1975, I have been involved in a half-dozen previous searches—all of which wound up as captivating adventures but, at the end of the day, cruel disappointments."
Brother Moscato’s Dump” was also known as the PJP Landfill: “P” for Phillip “Brother” Moscato; “J” for local political figure John Hanley; and “P” for Paul Cappola, Frank Cappola’s father. Moscato, according to federal and state law-enforcement officials, was a reputed soldier in the Vito Genovese crime family. He worked under Anthony Provenzano of New Jersey, one of two mobsters Hoffa’s expected to meet on the day he disappeared. Moscato died in 2014.
The late Paul Cappola was a respected businessman who owned a waste-management company in Jersey City and was Moscato’s partner at the PJP Landfill. Cappola was certainly connected to the underworld but, unlike Brother Moscato, was not a “made” member of the Mafia. Still, like Moscato, he was obedient to the powers that controlled the waste-management industry in New Jersey and New York during the 1970s.
Frank, who was seventeen and working part-time at the dump when Hoffa disappeared during the summer of 1975, stated in his affidavit: “While I was talking to my dad, a black limousine drove onto our lot in the mud. My dad said to Mr. Moscato, something like, ‘They’re here.’
Cappola tells Moldea that he didn't know at the time that it might be Hoffa.
Moldea goes on to write that in 1989 Paul Cappola told his son Frank that Hoffa's body was buried there. Frank was working on a waste site adjacent to the long-defunct PJP Landfill at the time.
“This was the first time that my dad admitted that Hoffa was buried at PJP although he had referred to Hoffa in unspecific terms in our previous conversations," Cappola told Moldea. In 2008, while Paul Cappola was dying, he gave his son details of what happened to the body.
In the recent sworn affidavit, Frank Cappola said:
Unidentified people brought Hoffa’s dead body to PJP. Because of the awkward position of Hoffa’s corpse after they removed him from whatever container he was in before, they were unable to place him, feet first, in a 55-gallon steel drum retrieved at PJP. So, they put him in the drum headfirst. Then, they sealed the container. My father saw but never handled Hoffa’s dead body.
Hoffa wanted to reclaim the top spot in the Teamsters. The mob had different ideas.
Moldea writes that Frank Cappola is willing to cooperate with law enforcement.
Detroit FBI officials told John Wisely of the Detroit Free Press on Thursday morning that they haven't yet heard of Moldea's new evidence, but hadn't ruled out another dig.
"Absolutely — if we had credible evidence that leads to a location,” said FBI spokeswoman Mara Schneider. “The case has been going on for so long, and there’s so much interest in finding Mr. Hoffa. We would very much like to be able to solve this.”
This all comes as the Hoffa case gets renewed attention from Martin Scorsese's film "The Irishman," starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci. The story is based on the book "I Heard You Paint Houses" by reputed hitman Frank Sheeran, who claims he killed Hoffa and the body then was cremated.
Moldea wrote in Deadline Detroit on Nov. 3 that Sheeran, who is no longer alive, was a pathological liar and the story about him killing Hoffa is fiction.