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Old matchbook uncovers possible Jimmy Hoffa Coachella Valley connection

Cleveland tavern owner says he found matchbook from Palm Desert Lodge in his basement

Palm Desert Hoffa

PALM DESERT, Calif. - Douglas Graziano chips away at a basement wall in his Cleveland tavern, in the hopes of chipping away at the mystery surrounding the disappearance of union boss Jimmy Hoffa.

Hoffa disappeared in Detroit in 1975, but Graziano believes the basement in his bar may be Hoffa's final resting place.

The previous owner of Wexler's Tavern found bones he believed to be human during a remodel in 1988, but eventually threw them out.

Graziano also found bones.  But, apparently not human.

Graziano says, "It could be from a cow or a chicken. Could be a collar bone. Could be a hand bone.  I am not a Pathologist.  Not an expert.  Anyway it's very interesting.  We're going to continue to dig and see if we can find anything further."

Another discovery is more fruitful.

An old green matchbook with Palm Desert Lodge across the cover, along with an old 714 phone number.

"We find a matchbook that has a link to Jimmy Hoffa," Graziano continues. "The House that Jimmy Hoffa built at Palm Desert Lodge in California."

Or, as it's known now, The International Lodge in Palm Desert.

Hotel owner Alan Gross tells us what he knows about the property. "Roughly in about 1959, the Teamsters under Jimmy Hoffa, constructed the hotel, but at that point it wasn't a hotel," Gross says. "They just built it as a summer retreat for some of the high-ups at the teamsters."

Over the years, the property changed hands and changed from condominiums to a hotel again.

Rooms have been recently remodeled but, the exterior and the rumors remain unchanged.     

Gross continues, "A week doesn't go by with someone saying hey is Jimmy Hoffa buried under the fountain or is there silver dollars or money buried underneath cement. So we kind of run with it, we say okay, it's possible but there's not concrete evidence obviously of that effect."

The rumors say Jimmy frequented the units by the hotel's landmark fountain, some even say that's where they see his spirit.

"Some say he's in some of the units by the pool, at the large pool," Gross says.

Although the newly uncovered bones in that Cleveland basement turned out not to be human, the old bones and the matchbook remain a mystery.

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