I-Team: Jimmy Hoffa's name appears in FBI file on Chicago mob boss Frank 'The Breeze' Calabrese

By Chuck Goudie, Ann Pistone, Barb Markoff, Ross Weidner and Christine Tressel


The I-Team has an exclusive report on the FBI file on Chicago mob boss Frank "The Breeze" Calabrese. He died in prison on Christmas Day 2012.
One of the most mysterious names in U.S. criminal history, Jimmy Hoffa, pops up in the FBI file of one of the most notorious names in gangland Chicago, the late Frank "The Breeze" Calabrese. There is no suggestion that the former Teamsters union leader was one of Calabrese's many murder victims, but the mere mention of Hoffa's name is always news. And Thursday, in a 600-page file that was largely whited out by the FBI, Hoffa's name is the only news.
Jimmy Hoffa's middle name is Riddle, his mother's maiden name. The insertion of Hoffa's name into the FBI file of Chicago outfit boss Frank Calabrese Sr. is just that: a riddle. Or at least another mystery in a case that has come to be one of the nation's oldest crime puzzles: what happened to Jimmy Hoffa?
The powerful Teamsters union boss vanished from the parking lot of a suburban Detroit restaurant nearly 39 years ago. His body never found, no one ever prosecuted, the details never certain.
Federal law enforcement officers concluded long ago that the Chicago outfit had a hand in Hoffa's disappearance, based on witness interviews and a slim trail of evidence. Oddly, Hoffa's name is one of the few names not redacted by the Justice Department in the Calabrese file that features hundreds of partially or totally whited out pages.
Calabrese's FBI file doesn't pin Hoffa's presumed murder on Calabrese, but the fact that there is any reference to him whatsoever only deepens the mystery of what happened to Hoffa.
One reference to Hoffa concerns a meeting that may have taken place in Missouri the week that Hoffa vanished, noted in Calabrese's federal file as part of the "Hoffex" investigation which was the bureau's codename for its probe.
The other mention of Hoffa and Calabrese is from a 1973 FBI report, two years before the teamsters boss was last seen alive. That section of the file describes a $900,000 loan from Hoffa's union pension fund to a company controlled by Chicago "hoodlum figures."
Hoffa had relationships with numerous top hoodlums in Chicago, but the Calabrese file doesn't make it clear whether he was one of them, or why. Calabrese was a juice loan operator who rose through the ranks to outfit boss and became known for his unforgiving, hands-on approach to addressing mob misbehavior -- usually by throttling victims, strangling them, shooting them, or all three.