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How Hoffa’s need for power led him from Teamsters to the Mob

Episode 2 of ‘Shattered: Hoffa’ now available

Funeral for Joseph Zerilli, the Mafia boss of Detroit, in 1977. (Photo: Scott Burnstein)
Funeral for Joseph Zerilli, the Mafia boss of Detroit, in 1977. (Photo: Scott Burnstein)

DETROIT – When you hear the name Jimmy Hoffa, you probably think of the former Teamster boss’ iconic disappearance, but his story is much more than a murder mystery.

It’s about power, loyalty, betrayal, organized labor and organized crime. It’s a story about how far people will go to get what they want.

Once you start looking into Hoffa, you find yourself down a rabbit hole of dark tunnels. You look at the Teamsters Union and end up at Richard Nixon, Bobby Kennedy and the JFK assassination. All of these roads lead back to Hoffa’s obsession with power.

There was nothing he wouldn’t do to have it, and hold onto it, and once he lost everything, how far would he go to get it back?


Shattered: Hoffa - Episode 2

Season 4 of WDIV’s Shattered Podcast chronicles the rise and fall of the iconic labor leader, Jimmy Hoffa. In Episode 2, we look at Hoffa’s rise to becoming the poster boy of The Teamsters Union -- and how it led him to the mob.

“The Teamsters Union was always considered to be a somewhat rough-and-tumble operation, and Jimmy Hoffa was the poster boy for what the Teamsters Union was supposed to be. He was short, aggressive, pugnacious, wouldn’t back down from anybody, was willing to do whatever he thought he had to do to increase his own power, and to a large extent, to benefit the members of the Union, but he was not unwilling to sit down with the devil.” - Keith Corbett, former Chief of the Organized Crime Strike Force for the United States Attorney’s Office

Episode 2 of Shattered: Hoffa is available now wherever you listen to podcasts. This season is hosted by Local 4′s Steve Garagiola. Episode 3 will be released on Tuesday, Dec. 17.

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The first three seasons of “Shattered” have garnered nearly 3.5 million downloads with audiences from 170 countries. Season 1 investigates the 2010 disappearance of three brothers in Morenci, Michigan. Their father said he gave the brothers to an underground organization. Seven years later, the boys’ whereabouts is not known. Season 2 takes listeners through the life of Richard Wershe, Jr., aka “White Boy Rick,” the youngest ever FBI informant turned drug dealer. Season 3 investigates the heartbreaking and riveting story about Michigan’s Oakland County Child Killer case that is still unsolved 40 years later.


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