Eric Shawn: Mobster’s son says he knows where Jimmy Hoffa is buried (and who killed him)

Editor’s note: To watch all of the Fox Nation special  “Riddle: The Search for James R. Hoffa,”  anchored by Fox New’s Eric Shawn, go to Fox Nation and sign up today.

He says he has been carrying the secret for five years and finally wants it out.

“I know where Jimmy Hoffa is buried, absolutely” says Phillip Moscato, Jr. He also says he knows who killed him: mob hitman Salvatore ‘Sally Bugs’ Briguglio.

“‘Sally Bugs’ is the one who pulled the trigger in Detroit.”

Phil is the son of Hoffa suspect Phillip “Brother” Moscato, Sr., a Genovese crime family powerhouse in New Jersey who died of liver cancer in 2014 at the age of 79. Phil told Fox Nation in an exclusive interview that not only did his father reveal that his close childhood friend and fellow Genovese mobster “Sally Bugs” shot the iconic labor leader, but that his Dad also told him where the body ended up.

“I am the only person who knows the location of his final resting place,” he told Fox Nation. “He is there, I believe one hundred million percent, I know it is.”

Federal investigators have long stated that Hoffa was murdered in Detroit when he disappeared on July 30th, 1975, and reported transported to New Jersey by the Genovese crime family mobsters responsible for his killing. It is believed that he was buried in the large dump that Moscato’s father owned in Jersey City, the PJP Landfill, known as “Moscato’s dump.” But Phil says that after one of his father’s mafia cohorts flipped and cooperated with the F.B.I. in November of 1975, four months after Hoffa vanished, the body was moved so that authorities would not discover it. The remains have yet to be found.

Phil’s father, known as “Brother,” took the Fifth before the federal grand jury probing Hoffa’s disappearance. He was a multi-millionaire New Jersey and Florida restaurant owner who also served as a major Garden State mobster. A 1972 FBI Report described him as “one of the top loan sharks in Hudson and Bergen county New Jersey…An LCN (La Cosa Nostra) Member and labor racketeer, reputed to be a ‘hitman.'”

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Moscato, Sr. was close to Anthony ‘Tony Pro’ Provenzano, who federal prosecutors have said orchestrated Hoffa’s disappearance. ‘Tony Pro’ was a notorious Genovese family New Jersey Capo who also served as president of the Jersey City Teamsters Union Local 560. He held a long-standing personal animus toward Hoffa that centered on money, and his Mafia bosses opposed Hoffa’s attempts to regain the presidency of the Teamsters Union.

​Phillip Moscato (the man who made the deathbed confession to his son, Phillip Jr,). Moscato later spoke with Fox News' Eric Shawn. ​

​Phillip Moscato (the man who made the deathbed confession to his son, Phillip Jr,). Moscato later spoke with Fox News’ Eric Shawn. ​

Phil says Provenzano ordered that Hoffa’s body be brought back to New Jersey “as a trophy.”

“‘Tony Pro’ is the one who put it all together. He is the one who wanted the body brought back to New Jersey, that is why the body was brought back here. The thing between all of them was, the body comes back to Jersey. It was a Jersey thing, and there’s a Jersey guy is in control now. keep him close, keep him where we can see him. It kind of sounds like a sick thing, but that’s the way it was. It was a control-type deal. Kind of like a trophy. He wanted him in Jersey, and that was his trophy, and he wanted everybody to understand. That’s how it went down back then.”

Phil related his stunning story in an exclusive Fox Nation interview for a new episode of “Riddle, The Search for James R. Hoffa,” and my Fox News Channel reporting on the case. He explains that his father finally decided to come clean toward the end of his life, on the day he was discharged from the Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune, New Jersey, to go home for hospice care in 2014.

“He was a tough guy, one of the toughest guys to ever come out of Jersey City,” says Phil. “He was a straight-up, old-school mobster.”

“He was going out of his way. He wanted to be home with my mother, with my family, it was probably the scariest day of my life.”

Phil says when his mother Angela went to the hospital cafeteria to bring back some lunch, his father took the moment to reveal what he knew to his son. As they sat together on the hospital bed, back to back because of his dad’s back problems, he says his father slipped him the secrets.

Salvatore Briguglio, center, smiles as he waits to enter the lobby of the Oakland County Jail in Pontiac, Mich., Dec. 6, 1975 where he was to appear in a court ordered lineup in connection with the disappearance of James R. Hoffa. Thomas Andretta, left, was also to appear in the lineup. (AP Photo)

Salvatore Briguglio, center, smiles as he waits to enter the lobby of the Oakland County Jail in Pontiac, Mich., Dec. 6, 1975 where he was to appear in a court ordered lineup in connection with the disappearance of James R. Hoffa. Thomas Andretta, left, was also to appear in the lineup. (AP Photo)

“My mother goes and leaves and he says, ‘I’ve got a few things I want to talk to you about,’ and I’m thinking take care of your mother, I’m going to hear all that, and is there anything financial that I have to take care of, we spoke about things of this sort and then he drops a bombshell on me. He says I have something I want to tell you and I want you to listen real good. He says, ‘I need to tell you the location of where Jimmy Hoffa is buried.’ I’m like, ‘what do you mean you’re going to tell me the location?’  He says ‘I’m going to tell you where Jimmy Hoffa is buried,’ and he told me. He gave me the location of where Jimmy Hoffa is buried.”

It took several years for Phil to process and fully absorb what his father told him, to put the pieces together and then become comfortable with sharing it. He finally decided to come forward earlier this year after watching a television news segment that I anchored on the Fox News Channel about our Hoffa investigation. He contacted me on Facebook. The segment that he watched featured former Fox News Producer Ed Barnes, with whom I worked on our investigation, and noted Washington, D.C. investigative journalist and author  Dan Moldea, who is considered the most prominent Hoffa expert in the country, debating Hoffa’s fate.

Moldea, who started on the Hoffa beat in 1974 and went on to write the landmark book “The Hoffa Wars” in 1978, first interviewed Phil’s father in 2007 and had earned the family’s trust through the years. Moldea then teamed up with us on our Fox Nation investigation.

“He was a stand-up guy,” says Moldea of Moscasto, Sr.

“Hoffa is killed in Detroit, (and) loaded into a 55-gallon drum and taken to New Jersey. Moscato confirmed to me that Hoffa’s body was brought back to New Jersey.

Moscato, Sr. told Moldea “They said that me and Sal Briguglio buried Hoffa in my dump…brought the truck in and Hoffa was in there and we buried him.”

Sal Briguglio/Fox Nation

Sal Briguglio/Fox Nation

However, he refused to tell Moldea where Hoffa’s remains apparently then ended up after being moved out of his dump.

In November of 1975 a member of ‘Tony Pro’s’ crew, Ralph Picardo, tipped off the F.B.I. about Hoffa’s murder and suggested that he was buried in “Moscato’s dump.” That news seemingly prompted the mobsters to move the body to another location before the Feds could discover it.

“Once they hear that Ralph Picardo is talking and informing, and actually locating Brother Moscato’s dump as the site of the body, which it was at that point, that the whole Provenzano crew decided to go ‘red alert’ to get the body out of there,” says Moldea.

Picardo’s son, Ralph Picardo, Jr. told me that his father told the truth about the murder.

“I am confident in what he said,” Picardo told me. “There is an overwhelming possibility the remains will be found…the chances are getting better with the passage of time.”

The bureau searched the dump but came up empty, a not unsurprising result considering if the body had already been moved. In fact, Briguglio was so brazen that he two of the other suspects, his brother Gabe and Thomas Andretta, put up a $10,000 reward to “anyone who unearthed Hoffa’s corpse” in the dump, money they knew would never have to be paid out because the remains were no longer there.

Some F.B.I. and Department of Justice officials have stated that Briguglio was the shooter, but prosecutors were unable to make a case against him by the time he was shot to death in a suspected mob rub-out on Mulberry Street in Manhattan’s Little Italy in 1978, three years after Hoffa disappeared. The killing remains unsolved.

“‘Sally Bugs,’ yes…was the one,” says Phil. “It was a Sal Briguglio hit…I remember Sally from when I was a little kid.”

A 1976 U.S. Federal Strike Force Memo stated: “Briguglio was given the actual assignment and, thereafter, he notified the interested parties of its successful completion on the evening of 7/30/75 either personally or through a third party.”

The Department of Justice report also said that Briguglio was trying to get his hands on a backhoe, presumably to bury Hoffa. The memo says Briguglio and two unidentified men “found themselves urgently in need of a backhoe on Thursday morning (7/31/75),” which happened to be the day after Hoffa disappeared.

“An informant advised a Strike Force Attorney in Newark that Briguglio had borrowed a backhoe around the time of Hoffa’s disappearance.” The memo, which is heavily redacted, indicates that the backhoe appeared to have been borrowed from the nearby Orlando Construction Company. The president of Orlando Construction had been identified as Thomas Principe, a “reputed high ranking member of the powerful Genovese crime family.’

Phil would not reveal the exact location where his father said Hoffa’s remains were buried, but our Fox Nation investigation turned up two potential spots in the New Jersey Meadowlands, the traditional burial ground for Mafia victims, that could be possibilities.

One is now a paved-over parking lot, the other a plot of abandoned land. While we are continuing to investigate the parking lot location, and have reports of yet another site, the vacant plot of land in Carlstadt, New Jersey, alongside the Hackensack River raises questions. That address is 200 Outwater Lane, a parcel that just happens to have an historic mob provenance. The former boss of the Genovese crime family’s New Jersey operations, John DiGillio, was found dumped there in a body bag in 1988 and there have been rumors that Jimmy Hoffa is buried there too.

The address was used as a marina for years, and it has a troubled past. A 1982 Carlstadt police report described 200 Outwater as “tantamount to a western shoot-out movie…with larceny, rape, theft, explosion, arson, burglary.”

The president of Riverview Associates, a company that bought the land in 1988, Alfred Porro, was a lawyer who represented many of the local reputed mobsters in business dealings, including Phil’s father. Porro and others told us that there had been talk that Hoffa was possibly buried there at the time.

The site was not being used in November of 1975, when Hoffa’s corpse could have potentially been transported there. Sources say the parking lot was not paved back then, and that it was loosely covered with stones and shingles. The land is now the location of a closed night club and golf driving range that is for sale.

Phil refuses to confirm 200 Outwater Lane as the location where his father told him that Hoffa was buried, or if the site is the other location that Fox Nation has identified in the Meadowlands nearby. He says that he is waiting for further confirmation of a few more details that would corroborate his father’s information before going public. When he does, he says that he will tell what he knows to law enforcement authorities in a sworn affidavit so they can start a dig looking for Hoffa’s remains.

Interest in the Hoffa disappearance has been heightened with the release of the Netflix film “The Irishman,” which is based on the claim of Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, who claimed he killed Hoffa. I met Sheeran in 2001 and he told me that he shot Hoffa in the head with a .22 caliber handgun, in a house in Detroit.

In 2004 I led the Fox News team that found blood on the floor of that house, in a pattern that matched Sheeran’s story. The F.B.I. confirmed that 28 drops that we found on the floorboards were human blood, but the bureau was only able to extract DNA from one sample, and determined that it came from “an unidentified male,” not from Hoffa. Authorities deemed Sheeran’s story “unfounded.”

For years I believed Sheeran, but then the new information emerged about what may have happened. As an investigative journalist, I have to follow every new lead, even those that conflict with my previous findings and contradict my conclusions. 

Phil and others say that Seerhan’s story is not just unfounded, but an outright fabrication.

“Frank Sheeran is full of s***”, ” Phil told Fox Nation. “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. It doesn’t add up. I’m not here to hurt nobody, but I want the real story to be told for the Hoffa family.”

A variety of former law enforcement officials who investigated Hoffa’s disappearance have also recently come forward to claim that Sheeran’s story is false.


Even the Mafia doesn’t buy his tale.

“The man that killed Jimmy Hoffa was Sal Briguglio, he was the triggerman,” says former Philadelphia Mob Boss Ralph Natale, whose book is “Last Don Standing,” details his days running the Mafia in the city of brotherly love in the 1990’s.

Natale told Fox Nation that Sheeran “did nothing. His whole life was a lie. He didn’t kill him, not in a million years.”

Charles Brandt, the author of Sheeran’s biography, “I Heard You Paint Houses,” that is the basis for the film, and the book’s publisher Chip Fleischer stand by Sheeran, who died in 2003. Brandt has denied that Sheeran fabricated his story to sell a book, telling Fox Nation that Sheeran did it. “It is the law of confession, the law of corroboration and it’s satisfied over and over again,” he said.

Phil hopes his information will help prosecutors find Hoffa’s remains, so that the case can be finally put to rest and the Hoffa family can have some solace. Hoffa’s son James P. Hoffa is the current president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and his daughter Barbara is a retired judge in St. Louis, Missouri.

“A big part of this is the Hoffa family,” Phil says, adding that he wants to act “responsibly.”

“I really want this to happen. For them never knowing, I am hoping that this…will give them a little closure. People will say, ‘oh he should just tell, that poor family,’ and I understand that, believe me, I really understand that, I do. It’s partly why I am going slow. I want to make sure that when it comes out, it comes out the right way. I want them to feel comfortable about the location that I am giving too. This is a process that I am doing. I am just not blurting it out. But the story is together, it is definitely together, it makes sense.”


“I’m a son, I’m a Dad, I’m a Grandfather, and I can only imagine. I cannot imagine what they must have went through and what they still go through, and I want to be a part of making that better. It’s been too long. The family deserves it, they really do.”

Fox News has called for the government’s still-secret Hoffa files to be fully released so that all of the information about the disappearance and the suspects can finally be made public. The Hoffa family supports that effort.

Watch the episodes of “Riddle, The Search for James R. Hoffa” on Fox Nation, and for Hoffa investigation updates on the Fox News Channel at 4 – 6 pm ET on Saturdays 1 pm ET, on Sundays on “America’s News Headquarters” anchored by Eric Shawn and Arthel Neville and on Look for “Riddle: The Podcast.” Follow Eric Shawn on Twitter @EricShawnTV.

To watch all of “Riddle: The Search for James R. Hoffa,” go to Fox Nation and sign up today.


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