Crime

Updated: As FBI Digs for Hoffa, Ex-Mobster Zerilli Tries to Sell Autographed Photos

June 18, 2013, 11:02 AM by  Allan Lengel

Update: Tuesday, 4 p.m. -- Mike Martindale and Candice Williams of the Detroit News report that investigators are shifting focus of the search on a different spot on the site in Oakland Township at Adams and Buell roads after a cadaver dog hit on the location. The News reports the spot isn't part of a concrete slab authorities unearthed at the site. Ex-mobster Tony Zerilli claims Hoffa was buried under a concrete slab. The News also reported  Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard confirmed the dog's interest in a new spot, but wasn't convinced he had a conclusive hit.

Tuesday,  5 p.m. -- WDIV's  Kevin Dietz reports that the cadaver dog likely hit on an animal, not a human remains.

Tuesday 6:15 p.m. -- WDIV's Dietz reports that the search is done for the day, and that investigators thought they would come up with something on the first day. Tomorrow will be the third day.

 

By Allan Lengel

As FBI agents continue searching today for Jimmy Hoffa's body in Oakland Township, you can't help but wonder how ex-mobster Anthony (Tony Z) Zerilli is profiting.

You see, Zerilli, who briefly headed the Detroit mob before being knocked down to a capo (captain) , told the FBI Hoffa is buried in Oakland Township on a property once owned mob boss Jack Tocco. That prompted the FBI to go digging. 

Zerilli, who was in prison at the time of Hoffa's disappearance in 1975, has made no secret of the fact that he wants to profit from a book on Hoffa. He's got a website where he's selling  a 21-page manuscript on the Hoffa disappearance for $4.99 online and $7.99 if you want it mailed. There's talk of him eventually writing a book. In his manuscript, he writes that Hoffa was bound and gagged, hit with a shovel and buried alive in a barn on the property.

At 85, he's not exactly a rock star. But that hasn't stopped him from trying to sell signed photos.

He writes on his website:

Due to the overwhelming request for his personally autographed photos, Mr. Zerilli is offering the following 8.5" x 11" professional color photos for purchase, with the option for a personally signed photo.

He's selling the photo, which will be mailed, for $9.99. If you want an autograph, that costs $22.99. If you care for a personal message, well that's another $12. That's an offer you can't refuse. 

Tony Z even is on Twitter as @hoffafound, where his latest link to the website was posted Tuesday morning with a tweet saying:

Read the whole story here. Mobster Tony Zerilli writes a book on the murder of #Hoffa

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Attorney David Chasnick speak to journalists on Monday.

His attorney David Chasnick, who was at the scene of the digging on Monday, and planned to return today, said he isn't sure how the photos or manuscript are doing.

"I have no clue," he said.

And while he acknowledges that Zerilli wants to make money off the Hoffa disappearance, he says Zerilli "cares a lot about the Hoffa family" and wants them to get some peace of mind from a final resolution.

As a lawyer, Chasnick said he's a skeptic by nature.

But he said the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office convinced him this search was legit.

"They were the ones who convinced me, not him," he said, referring to his client. 

Meanwhile, the digging continued Tuesday and the Michigan State Police brought a cadaver-sniffing dog to the scene, according to a law enforcement source.

Whatever the case, the longer the dig goes on, the better chance Zerilli has of selling more manuscripts and signed photos. Finding Hoffa would generate even more interest in Zerilli.

But if the feds come up empty again, he may have a stack of portraits left. 



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Beautiful winter sunset over Northwest Detroit.

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