Skip to content

What Happened in Vegas

Hoffa and his brotherhood in the city of sin

Lasting for three straight days, the grand opening of Caesars Palace in August of 1966 was a spectacle unlike any the city of Las Vegas had ever seen. The owners of the casino, a brash Southern hotelier and gambler named Jay Sarno and his straight-laced partner Stan Mallin, dropped over a million dollars on food and booze, doling out fifty thousand glasses of champagne and two tons of filet mignon to their fourteen hundred guests. Nearly every high-rolling gambler and bookmaker in America, as well as a veritable who’s-who of celebrities, were in attendance. John Wayne, Johnny Carson, Maureen O’Hara, Eydie Gorme—even Grant Sawyer, the governor of Nevada, was on hand. The guest of honor, however, was someone who didn’t drink, didn’t gamble, and didn’t much care for lasciviousness or ostentatious displays of wealth. Yet here he was in the middle of a three-day bacchanal christening a $24 million Roman palace, the most expensive casino ever built up to that point in history, anywhere. His name was Jimmy Hoffa, and he was the president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the 1.7 million-member trucking and transportation union.

“We needed a guy like Jimmy,” said Sarno from the stage during the celebration. “Only someone with his class, his integrity, could have added a little Greco-Roman class to Vegas.” Hoffa added a lot more than that. His union’s Central States Pension Fund loaned Sarno and his partners $10.6 million for the construction of Caesars Palace. Later that night, as Hoffa slept in room 1066, the nicest suite in the hotel, gamblers threw dice and pulled the arms of the slot machines, and the casino roared with excitement. Before long, the guests had won more money than the casino had in the cage. An emissary was sent to wake Hoffa up and let him know the casino was in the hole. According to Stan Mallin, “He gave us a couple million to tide us over.”

Eventually the amount the Teamsters would loan to Sarno and Caesars Palace would balloon to more than $20 million, and even more in 1968 for Sarno’s next casino, Circus Circus. Within a decade the Teamsters would invest over $272 million in Nevada, mostly in casinos. By 1976 the Teamsters had become the gaming industry’s largest financial backer and the largest creditor in the state of Nevada.

The relationship between the Teamsters union and casinos was born of necessity. Nevada had legalized gambling in 1931, but it had never produced more than some sawdust joints and roadhouse saloons in desert backwaters, save for the city of Las Vegas, which served to entertain the scores of workers sent to Nevada to build the Hoover Dam. During World War II, the Army built an airfield outside of Las Vegas, bringing a new influx of visitors to the oasis. In the postwar years, as the soldiers decamped from the desert, Nevada wanted more than mining as its economic driver, so it leaned into its status as the only state where gambling was legal and embraced tourism. Entrepreneurs arrived in the early 1950s to the fledgling town that was Las Vegas, hoping to build casino resorts on the highway to Los Angeles. They needed money. Traditional banks, however, were skeptical of investing in gambling outfits. Casinos were, by their very nature, risky. But it wasn’t just too many dice landing seven on the come-out roll that banks worried about. What if the state government changed course and criminalized gambling again? What would collateralize the loans? Decks of cards?

Add to these concerns the fact that the only people in America qualified to run a casino were those who had run illegal gambling operations—their professional resumes being essentially their arrest records—and one begins to see how unusual the challenge of trying to scale up an economic base from gambling would be. Nevada would need criminals to run their casinos, and someone even more unorthodox to post up the money to get those criminals started. That’s where the Teamsters came in.

Friends in Low Places

In 1955, Jimmy Hoffa was the leader of the Michigan Teamsters and the Central States Drivers Council, which included locals in many of the Midwest and Southern states and had more than one hundred seventy-seven thousand members. He began negotiating with trucking companies to set aside two dollars per member into a pension fund each week. Within a year that fund grew to almost $10 million. Ten years later the fund was bringing in over $6 million a month.

Whatever Hoffa and Dalitz cooked up introduced Hoffa to the idea that the underworld could be as much of an asset as an obstacle to his union.

Hoffa saw this pension fund’s utility not only as it was originally intended—to insure the futures of the members of the union in their retirements—but also as a tool to build power for the Teamsters, as well as himself. The way Hoffa described it, the pension fund offered the union a way “to reward friends and to make new ones.”

To accomplish this, Hoffa took control of the pension through stacking the board of trustees with loyalists and moving the money from government bonds, which were the standard conservative investment vehicle for most pension funds at that time, and into real estate loans that the fund would hold directly—by comparison a much riskier investment. By 1963, 63 percent of the Central States Pension Fund’s $213 million was in real estate and only 3 percent was in government bonds. The Teamsters were essentially now operating one of America’s largest banks, and Hoffa had virtually sole discretion over who the bank did business with. Many of those customers were organized crime figures, and not without good reason. In addition to the aforementioned necessity of the mob’s expertise in Las Vegas’s burgeoning gambling industry, the Teamsters Union had other uses for friends in low places.

“Every strike we have with employers who really want to fight, they revert to hiring hoodlums,” said Hoffa, “and unless we know who our enemy is, and unless you’re in a position to do something about it, you’ll lose your strike.” In the 1930s, during Hoffa’s early days as an organizer, employers in Detroit often turned to the mob to break strikes. “I knew guys in the Purple Gang in Detroit,” Hoffa recalled in his autobiography. “We fought them with bombs and billy clubs in 1935 and both sides got hurt bad. We made up our mind to meet them, get to know them, and work out an agreement under which they’d stay out of our business and we’d stay out of theirs.”

One of the leaders of the Purple Gang, a Jewish bootlegging mob, was a young man named Moe Dalitz, who met Hoffa through a girlfriend. Dalitz eventually left Detroit for Ohio, where his Mayfield Road Mob rose to underworld prominence running illegal gambling in Ohio in the 1940s. Dalitz’s family was in the industrial laundry business; in 1949 Hoffa’s Teamsters had organized Detroit’s laundry and dry cleaner workers into the union, and they were prepared to strike the whole city. The consortium of owners reached out to Dalitz, now a powerful underworld figure, to return to Detroit and help them negotiate with his old pal. The two put their heads together and came up with a settlement that avoided a strike (some have said it involved a payoff to Hoffa, though he denied it, and it was never proven). “We got a contract” Hoffa said in his autobiography, “a good contract, and the Dalitz laundries lived up to it.” Whatever Hoffa and Dalitz cooked up introduced Hoffa to the idea that the underworld could be as much of an asset as an obstacle to his union. And it introduced to Dalitz the idea that the union, a strong union anyway, could be useful to the underworld as well.

A magazine features a photograph of Jimmy Hoffa reflected in the long side-view mirror of a truck. The tagline reads “A National Threat: Hoffa’s Teamsters.”
Jimmy Hoffa on the cover of Life, 1959. (PunkToad)

Rolling the Dice

Ten years later, Dalitz would come to Hoffa asking for a favor that would not only change both of their lives but change the history of Las Vegas. Dalitz was trying to set up shop in the city and needed a loan. But not for a casino. Dalitz was building a hospital.

In 1959 Moe Dalitz was approached by Las Vegas realtor Irwin Molasky and Merv Adelson. (Adelson would later start Lorimar Productions, which produced hits like The Waltons and Dallas; he also married and divorced Barbara Walters, twice.) The two had been working to develop a hospital on a tract of land near the Las Vegas Strip. They needed new investors, and they knew Dalitz had connections to Hoffa. Together, the four of them concocted a plan that couldn’t fail: the Teamsters would loan them a million dollars for the hospital, and the Teamsters and Culinary Union health funds in Las Vegas would send their members to the hospital for treatment. This gave the hospital a guaranteed influx of patients, ensured the Teamsters would be paid back on their investment, and provided a needed benefit to the growing number of union members in the city.

“It was seen as a real move forward because it was a major hospital, which they hadn’t had in Las Vegas before,” says University of Nevada, Las Vegas history professor and author David Schwartz. “And this is when Las Vegas really was expanding from being a small town to being a small city at the time.”

Nevada was then the fastest-growing state in the nation, fueled by the rapid growth of Las Vegas. From 1950–1960, the city grew from twenty-five thousand to one hundred thirty thousand people, more than a third of the state’s population. People flocked to the city on the promise of good jobs in the casino resorts, which were going up in rapid succession, many of them financed by the Teamsters. The initial loan to Sunrise Hospital was a trial balloon. It demonstrated that pension fund financing could enable much larger developments than had been possible before, perhaps even a casino.

“I think it did have a role in the transition period from the ‘syndicate-with-a-small-s’ funding of casinos, where you basically get a group of fifty or sixty people together and have them all pool their money, and build your casino that way, to more mainstream lenders,” says Schwartz. He says that having a large-scale and regulated financial institution like the Teamsters Central States Pension Fund backing these projects brought a sense of legitimacy to casino development that helped attract the attention of more mainstream financial institutions. “At the time, the Teamsters were a major union, a major financial force. These things could be audited.”

However, just because they could be audited, that didn’t mean they necessarily were, or that their findings were heeded. The Teamsters put up the money to finance the Stardust, the Fremont, the Desert Inn, the Dunes, the Landmark, the Four Queens, the Aladdin, and eventually Caesars Palace and Circus Circus, with organized crime leaders involved either overtly or covertly in every single one of them. Many of these loans, according to Steven Brill, author of the 1978 book The Teamsters, were often made if “a debt for a past ‘organizing’ favor could be settled.” Hoffa used the fund to work out a quid pro quo with underworld figures in a position to help the union elsewhere, and he added strings to the loans in Las Vegas that helped the unions there as well.

These projects were bold in scale and ambition, and required tens of thousands of employees, to say nothing of the scores of building trades workers who built the massive resorts. And as they built each property and hired the workers to staff them, the casinos signed union contracts. According to University of Hawaii history professor James Kraft, author of the book Vegas at Odds, “The Teamsters made loans to entrepreneurs who provided jobs for its members, not to groups that resisted unions.”

Those union contracts, both with the Teamsters, who represented valets, taxi and limo drivers, and front desk clerks, and the Culinary Union, who represented the hotel and restaurant staff, were mostly negotiated by Sidney Korshak, a Chicago labor lawyer with ties to organized crime. Korshak was frequently used to settle disputes between unions and employers whenever one or both sides of the negotiations involved organized crime interests. He worked both sides of the fence, and often his tactics involved bringing in a friendlier union to undercut a more militant one, or to negotiate a weaker contract. Still, every negotiation always ended in a contract. While some corporate lawyers advised their clients to do all they could to break the union, Korshak tried to help expand the ranks of labor and thereby the pension funds that were bankrolling America’s gambling industry. “Why does a guy out of the bartenders’ union or the janitors’ union like him?” asked Herman “Blackie” Leavitt, a vice president of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union, the parent union of the Culinary. “I’ll tell you why: because whoever Sidney Korshak represents, the union officials know that they’re going to come away with an agreement. He doesn’t believe in breaking unions.”

The contracts weren’t complex, merely six pages with five or six articles of boilerplate. And rank-and-file workers played little to no role in their negotiation. But the power of the union was evident. Housekeepers in Las Vegas had a base pay of sixteen dollars a day, while that was the ceiling in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Las Vegas bartenders made twenty-seven dollars a day, compared to seventeen to twenty-one dollars in the same three other major cities. In the postwar years, as Las Vegas grew, the average earnings of Nevada’s workers also grew at a rate faster than the national average. By 1969 there were an astounding two hundred seventy-five thousand people living in Las Vegas, and in the twenty-year period from 1955–1975, casino employment grew from about eight thousand to forty thousand, by far the city’s largest industry.

The Mob Squad

The Teamsters and Jimmy Hoffa played a bigger role in Las Vegas’s story than just bankrolling casinos. Of the first nine loans the Teamsters made in the city, four went to Moe Dalitz and his partners. After Sunrise, they used Teamster money to develop Maryland Parkway, the two-lane road that Sunrise Hospital was built on, into a commercial thoroughfare anchored by Boulevard Mall, the first modern shopping mall in Las Vegas, as well as later developing the Las Vegas Convention Center. Their company, Paradise Development Co., built hundreds of homes around Las Vegas. “Much of the mob’s multibillion-dollar take is reinvested in legitimate businesses such as real estate,” reads a 1985 Reno Gazette-Journal investigation into organized crime’s influence in Nevada. “Cloaking themselves in legitimacy and unabashedly doling out huge contributions to charitable causes, their largess [sic] has brought the respect of many quarters of the state’s power forces as they wedge their way to respectability.” The paper bemoaned the “benign indifference” shown to the mob by Las Vegans, saying the locals viewed the mob as “a mysterious benevolent force that has helped build the state to what it is today.”

People flocked to Las Vegas on the promise of good jobs in the casino resorts, which were going up in rapid succession, many of them financed by the Teamsters.

The feds, however, were immune to this mysterious force. The election of John F. Kennedy to the presidency also elevated his brother Bobby to attorney general, who sought to do what the FBI and the Senate committees that he once staffed failed to do: rein in the mob. In the 1960s organized crime had infiltrated every level of civic life in America, from control of major industries to the corruption of public officials from the White House to the dogcatcher, creating what Tennessee senator Estes Kefauver had described in 1950 as “a secret international government-within-a-government.” Bobby Kennedy knew that the mob’s main source of money was gambling and that they had grown their industry from backroom dice games to full-fledged luxury resorts in Nevada where mob leaders were skimming millions of dollars every year from the profits. Kennedy also knew they couldn’t do any of it without the Teamsters, so he assembled the best lawyers and investigators he could find into what was dubbed the “Get Hoffa Squad.”

Their mission was made difficult by Hoffa’s immense national popularity. Despite widespread perceptions of corruption, Hoffa was still seen as a champion of the underdog. When Hoffa was first elected Teamster president in 1957, his predecessor Dave Beck had already been indicted for misusing union funds and would eventually go to prison in 1962 for filing a false income tax return. Hoffa was considered a continuation of Beck’s corrupt leadership by the rest of the labor movement, and AFL-CIO president George Meany led a vote to oust the Teamsters from the AFL-CIO (it passed by a margin of five to one). Over time, Hoffa did little to change the impression that he was corrupt, and even less to ingratiate himself to the broader labor movement. Under Hoffa, the Teamsters raided other unions and swooped in to negotiate sweetheart contracts with companies that had been organized by AFL-CIO unions. But Hoffa also grew the Teamsters into the largest union in America, and he had helped to make over-the-road trucking, one of the most dangerous and low-paid jobs in the country, a well-paid middle-class job that afforded drivers their own homes, automobiles, and the luxury of a pension in retirement. Across the country, and especially in Las Vegas, Hoffa was seen as someone who used his power, however corrupt, to beat the bosses and win for the workers.

Ronald Goldfarb, a member of the Get Hoffa Squad, wrote in his memoir, Perfect Villains, Imperfect Heroes, that “civil libertarians—and, it seemed, most outside of Justice I knew—all thought Hoffa was being stalked unfairly.” But Goldfarb and the rest of Kennedy’s team knew there was no other way to take down the mob if they didn’t go through Hoffa, however popular he might have been. “If gambling was the multibillion-dollar bank for organized crime,” he wrote, “Las Vegas must have been its Federal Reserve.” Las Vegas was the engine that drove the mob, and the Teamsters were the engine that drove Las Vegas.

Over the course of the 1960s, Hoffa battled Bobby Kennedy’s investigations in multiple jurisdictions. He was investigated for misuse of the pension fund, bribery of jurors, violence and intimidation of union enemies, defrauding members, payoffs to criminals, and everything else Kennedy and his squad could find. In 1967 they finally got the charges to stick, and Hoffa was sent to the Lewisburg federal penitentiary in Pennsylvania to do thirteen years for bribery, fraud, and jury tampering, a mere seven months after he attended the opening of Caesars Palace.

The Last Days of Stardust

Putting Hoffa in prison didn’t stop the mob. Las Vegas continued to grow, and the Central States Pension Fund continued to loan out more and more money. In fact, Hoffa’s successor, Frank Fitzsimmons, was more accommodating to the mob than Hoffa had ever been. Under Fitzsimmons, the Central States Pension Fund was loaning out more money than ever before. It wasn’t Fitzsimmons’s doing, however. As Hoffa prepared to go away, he made it clear that Allen Dorfman, an employee of the pension fund with ties to the mob, would make decisions on who would get loans. Three weeks after Hoffa went to jail the fund passed a resolution making Dorfman a “special consultant.” In the ten years after Hoffa went to prison, the Central States Pension Fund tripled in size. The high-water mark for the pension fund’s investment in Las Vegas came in 1976, with $272.3 million in loans, $249.4 million of which was in casinos. The Teamsters held 56 percent of loans in Clark County, including perhaps the most famous loan the pension fund ever made: $62.7 million to a thirty-two-year-old real estate agent named Allen Glick to buy the Stardust. The story of Glick, the Stardust, and its unravelling is dramatized in Nicholas Pileggi’s book Casino and in Martin Scorsese’s film of the same name. In many ways, the Stardust was the last stand for the mob and the Teamsters Central States Pension Fund in Las Vegas. Glick, armed with what eventually totaled $160 million in Teamster loans, bought four casinos for a consortium of Midwest mob leaders and allowed them to skim the casinos for untold millions of dollars.

Bobby Kennedy knew the mob couldn’t skim casino profits without the Teamsters, so he assembled the best lawyers and investigators he could find into what was dubbed the “Get Hoffa Squad.”

Since the election of Kennedy and the ascension of his brother to the country’s “top cop,” the federal government had tried and failed to pry the mob from the gambling industry for more than twenty years. They would lock up mob leaders and union leaders, and others would simply take their place. Instead, the government needed to prevent the flow of money, to starve the mob out. It would take decades, and a number of laws were passed during that time to give them the tools to do it. The Corporate Gaming Act opened the door in 1969 for publicly traded corporations to purchase casinos, which in turn brought attention to the skimming operations at mob-held casinos where profits were lower. The following year, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act enabled the government to investigate and charge fifteen people for conspiracy in the skimming operation at the Stardust, including the leaders of the Kansas City, Chicago, and Milwaukee mobs. And the 1974 Employee Retirement Income Security (ERISA) Act enabled the Justice Department to more closely monitor the Central States Pension Fund. After discovering a shady deal involving the purchase of a private jet by the fund in 1979, the government and the Teamsters worked out a consent decree that would allow the government to assume control and oversight over the Central States Pension Fund. The lid was quickly tightening on the cookie jar.

The government turned the Central States Pension Fund over to Morgan Stanley in 1983. Within two years Morgan Stanley had completely divested it from Las Vegas, declaring that casinos “were not the investment grade assets that we wanted.” They shifted the investments to 49.7 percent stock, 46.2 percent bonds and only 2.3 percent real estate.

In the 1970s, before the fund was taken over, the fund still took in more in contributions from employers each year than it paid out in benefits to its four hundred fifty thousand members. At the time the government took control of the fund, it was the largest private multi-employer pension plan in America, with $6.4 billion in assets. That all started to change after the passage of the Motor Carrier Act in 1980. Deregulation of the trucking industry was a goal of every presidential administration since Kennedy, Republican and Democrat alike. The Teamsters had broken ranks with the majority of the labor movement in 1960 to support Nixon and had kept a much cozier relationship with Republicans throughout Hoffa’s tenure. That closeness may have bought Hoffa the executive clemency from Nixon in 1971 that got him out of prison (with the condition that Hoffa “not engage in direct or indirect management of any labor organization”), but it didn’t do much to slow down deregulation. Nixon and his successor Gerald Ford both signaled their support for deregulation, which would eliminate price controls and force trucking companies (and thereby truck drivers) to return to competing over who could pay the lowest wages, undoing decades of wage increases and membership growth sparked by Hoffa’s National Master Freight Agreement.

Roy Williams, who succeeded Fitzsimmons as Teamsters president, saw the writing on the wall after Jimmy Carter’s election in 1976 and the Motor Carrier Act made its way through Congress. Williams didn’t know what else to do. He called up his friends in the mob for help. They suggested they bribe Nevada senator Howard Cannon to hold up the bill. The plan didn’t work. Williams and Joey “the Clown” Lombardo ended up in prison for their role in the scheme. Allen Dorfman, the mob’s man in the pension fund, was also indicted in the attempted bribery. He served no prison time because he was murdered three weeks before his sentencing. The law passed and was signed by Carter in 1980, and the results for rank-and-file drivers were calamitous. In the first five years of deregulation, 6,740 carriers went out of business, and by 1991 only five of the fifty largest carriers remained. From 1977 to 1987, wages declined by 44 percent. In the 1970s the Teamsters represented more than two million truck drivers. In the first ten years of deregulation they lost almost five hundred thousand members. Today their number has dwindled to around seventy-five thousand drivers.

The Teamsters have rebounded somewhat, organizing in different sectors like warehouses, distribution centers, and even health care and education to make up for their losses in the trucking industry. The Central States Pension Fund, however, hasn’t fared as well. In 2017 the fund was projected to be insolvent by 2025. “That fund did fine until the government took over,” says Bruce Raynor, former president of UNITE HERE and an expert and consultant to unions on pension funds and capital strategies. “They hired stock pickers, who were paid high fees to manage it, and it was totally mismanaged to hell because they could care less about whether the workers had pensions.”

When the 2008 housing crisis hit, the Central States Pension Fund lost 42 percent of its assets in fifteen months, which amounted to about $11.1 billion. The median allocation by all union pension plans at that time was just under one-half stocks, and the median among plans with over $2 billion in assets was still only 59 percent. By comparison, the Central States Pension Fund’s portfolio was two-thirds stocks and one-third bonds, as the “stock pickers” put in charge of the fund made big bets on stocks as a way to solve the problem created by the dwindling number of Teamster-represented employers contributing to the fund. As a result, the plan was hit much harder than any other pension plan during the crisis.

The fund’s appointed managers’ proposed solution to this shortfall? Cut benefits to retirees. They requested special permission from the Treasury Department to slash the pensions of more than four hundred thousand Teamsters and their families. The department denied their request. Teamster leaders then spent years lobbying for help in Washington, which finally arrived in 2021 when the Biden administration and Congress included a $36 billion bailout for the fund as part of the American Rescue Plan Act.

“Had Biden not stepped in, a lot of Teamster retirees would have had their pensions cut,” says Raynor. Raynor believes the story of the Central States Pension Fund is an instructive one for labor today. He argues that Hoffa’s use of the pension fund as a tool is something more unions should emulate. “There are numerous unions who have assets over a billion dollars. We’ve got massive resources.” He explains that institutional investors that account for roughly 90 percent of the public markets are trading money that belongs to pension and retirement plans like the UAW or public sector workers. That money, in Raynor’s view, would be of far better use to the labor movement if it was moved out of public markets and into private ones. Unions could then adopt a set of labor standards for companies their funds finance, managing their money the way Hoffa managed the Central States Pension Fund, that is, investing with strings attached.

The City Hoffa Built

Jimmy Hoffa left prison in 1971 after Nixon commuted his sentence, with a stipulation he not run for Teamster office again until at least 1980, a stipulation Hoffa fought unsuccessfully in court. In 1975 he vanished, presumed to be murdered by the mob, a case that still puzzles and fascinates the public to this day. His disappearance and his crimes have defined him. His greatest achievements within the Teamsters, like negotiating the union’s first nationwide master contract for truck drivers, have long come unraveled. His union, once powerful enough to bring industry and government to its knees, is a shadow of its former self.

The Las Vegas of today, however, towers in comparison to the Las Vegas of the 1960s and 1970s. The Las Vegas metropolitan area has over two million residents. There are sixty major casinos, and nearly all of the top casino resorts are still union shops, with wages that are anywhere from 14 to 39 percent above the national average, depending on the job. The casino resorts today are owned by major corporations that are publicly traded, and gambling companies are no longer considered “not investment grade assets” or too risky to get a loan from a traditional bank. In fact, Americans spent $54.9 billion on gambling in 2022, more than ever before in history. In Nevada, gamblers wager over a billion dollars a month.

Visit Las Vegas today and you will likely ride from the airport in a union taxi (Hoffa loaned the Checker Cab company $225,000 in 1962, and Vegas is one of the few cities that still has union cabs); be checked in by a Teamster front desk clerk; be served wine by a union sommelier (the Culinary, a once-mob-run union that is the largest and most powerful union in Nevada, runs a fine dining and hospitality training program for members); have your room cleaned by union housekeepers and your drinks served by union cocktail waitresses and bartenders. Despite Nevada’s anti-union right-to-work laws and a declining union density across America, Las Vegas is still very much a union town, particularly in the casino industry.

While Hoffa would likely be crestfallen at the state of the American labor movement today, he probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn of the success of Las Vegas. As Jack Goldsmith writes in In Hoffa’s Shadow, even in those days before the grand opening of Caesars Palace, as he awaited word on his impending prison sentence, Hoffa roamed the halls of the vast casino, “chatting with and encouraging the laborers who were putting on finishing touches, and occasionally getting on his knees to help.” Goldsmith quotes Chuckie O’Brien, Hoffa’s foster son: “He would go in and help the electricians screw in wall lights and plug covers and shit because he wanted the hotel to open properly. He was so proud.” Caesars Palace is still in operation on the Las Vegas Strip, still a union shop. From good union jobs to the hospitals, parks, and neighborhoods built with Teamster money, perhaps Las Vegas is Hoffa’s most lasting legacy of all.