The Truth About Frank Sheeran And Jimmy Hoffa's Relationship

When he was hired as a driver by crime boss Russell Bufalino, Frank Sheeran was unaware of the exact nature of his employer's work. The man at the center of Martin Scorsese's latest film "The Irishman" would drive Bufalino around his territory in Pennsylvania and western New York and wait in the car while his boss carried out his business. However, as Sheeran told his attorney Charles Brandt in an interview the lawyer included in his 2004 book "I Heard You Paint Houses," he figured it out after a meeting of over 100 Mafiosos was raided by state and federal troopers in 1957. "Now I understood why Russell would ask me to drive him to different places and wait for him in the car while he did a little business in somebody's house or in a bar or restaurant," Sheeran told Brandt.

While there is some debate as to whether or not Sheeran's account is the true story behind "The Irishman," he said he began working as a hitman for Bufalino after that. And according to All That Is Interesting, when Teamsters Union president Jimmy Hoffa needed some help getting rid of union rivals, Bufalino introduced him to Sheeran. "I heard you paint houses," Hoffa reportedly said to Sheeran, referring to his work as a hitman. "I do my own carpentry, too," the Irishman replied, meaning he also cleaned up after himself. Thus, their ultimately tragic friendship began.

Frank Sheeran claims to have carried out the hit on Jimmy Hoffa

As Men's Health reports, Sheeran and Hoffa not only became business partners, they were also pretty good buddies. Hoffa used Sheeran as hired muscle to intimidate and, if necessary, do away with his rivals in the union. And as Sheeran told it, it was necessary quite often. The Irishman claimed to have killed as many as 30 people for Hoffa, and the Teamster rewarded the hitman handsomely for his work. Hoffa eventually installed him as the boss of a chapter of the Teamsters in Delaware.

But in the Mafia racket, business always comes first. Sheeran's version is that he was ordered to take Hoffa out. He took the Teamster to a house in Detroit, shot him twice, and burned the evidence in a crematorium. The thing is, Sheeran was either really good at his "carpentry," or he was making it all up, because there has never been any evidence to prove he killed Jimmy Hoffa. The official story is that the labor leader disappeared in 1975 and was pronounced legally dead seven years later. There are even those who refute the idea that Sheeran was a hitman for Bufalino at all. According to Slate, a contemporary of Sheeran's named John Carlyle Berkery claimed that the Irishman was "full of s***." The former member of Philadelphia's Irish mob said that "Frank Sheeran never killed a fly. The only things he ever killed were countless jugs of wine." So, without hard evidence, we may never know the truth.