A few weeks ago, U.S. Attorney for Eastern Michigan Matthew Schneider said after the sentencing of a United Auto Workers official, “We’re not done.” He wasn’t kidding. This Wednesday, FBI and IRS agents in four states raided the homes of UAW President Gary Jones (in photo) and former UAW President Dennis Williams, plus the union’s rural Michigan conference retreat/training center and a couple of other sites in search of evidence of corruption. The actions follow the convictions of several UAW and Chrysler officials for their roles in a bribery and embezzlement scheme, and charges announced this August 14 against now-retired union senior official Michael Grimes for receiving $2 million in kickbacks from vendors. Grimes pleaded not guilty to wire fraud and money laundering on Wednesday.
For a while, Norwood Jewell managed to avoid prosecution in the Fiat Chrysler-United Auto Workers pay-to-play scandal that so far has produced over a half-dozen convictions. But his run of good luck has ended. Yesterday, April 2, Jewell, a UAW vice president until last year, pleaded guilty in Detroit federal court to illegally accepting tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from Chrysler executives via the employer-funded National Training Center. He had been charged on March 18. His offenses were part of a wide-ranging probe into a years-long pattern of bribery and embezzlement involving an estimated $4.5 million in NTC funds. Jewell is set for sentencing in August. The latest charges loom especially significant given that the UAW’s current contract with Chrysler, General Motors and Ford expires in September.
The year 2018 saw the indictment, conviction and sentences of plenty of organized labor scams. New York City played host to some of the largest. For sheer magnitude, nothing anywhere could match the network of union fraud surrounding the construction of Hudson Yards, a large-scale, mixed-use development on Manhattan’s West Side. Set for completion in 2024, the project from the start has been a source of easy money for labor organizations affiliated with the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. The general contractor, Related Companies, having reached the limits of frustration, filed suit last March with the State Supreme Court against the council and its president for promoting or allowing illegal practices that allegedly have added over $100 million to the total project cost.
Looking back, Nancy Adams Johnson probably doesn’t think the money was worth it. On December 18, Johnson, former chief negotiator for the United Auto Workers with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, was sentenced in Detroit federal court to a year and a day in prison, and ordered to pay restitution and a $10,000 fine, for conspiring with certain UAW and Chrysler officials to receive more than $40,000 in cash payments and gifts in return for dropping certain issues during contract talks a few years ago. Johnson, who had been slapped with a five-count indictment this March, pleaded guilty in July. She is the seventh person to be sentenced in the scandal, which first came to light in July 2017. The actions follow a joint probe by the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
According to prosecutors, Nancy Johnson, now 57, … Read More ➡
Virdell King wasn’t the main character in the self-dealing among certain officials of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and the United Auto Workers. But she may be headed for a brief stretch behind bars anyway. On November 13, Ms. King, a former contract negotiator for the UAW, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to two months in prison plus a year of supervised release for her receipt of tens of thousands of dollars from the till of the company’s National Training Center (NTC) in return for a promise to drop certain union demands during collective bargaining a few years ago. She also was ordered to pay a $5,500 fine and a $100 special assessment. The sentencing follows a joint probe by the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
Union Corruption Update has provided continuous … Read More ➡
The fallout from the Chrysler-United Auto Workers scandal continues. On November 7, two former executives of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Jerome Durden and Michael Brown, along with an ex-UAW official, Keith Mickens, were sentenced in Detroit federal court for their roles in a broad scheme in which representatives of the auto manufacturer bribed union negotiators to avoid raising key issues during contract negotiations a few years ago. They are the third, fourth and fifth defendants to be sentenced in the scandal, estimated at $4.5 million, which also involved embezzlement and income tax evasion. The latest actions, said U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider, represent “further strides in our effort to root out corruption” at FCA and UAW.
Union Corruption Update has covered this pay-for-play scandal many times since it broke last July. The primary culprits were Chrysler Vice President Al Iacobelli, UAW Vice President General Holiefield, and Holiefield’s girlfriend and … Read More ➡
As a key figure in the Chrysler-United Auto Workers training fund scandal, Al Iacobelli expected a stiff sentence. And that’s what he got. On August 27, Iacobelli, former vice president of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to 66 months in prison and 24 months of supervised release for attempting to bribe certain UAW officers with more than $1.5 million in cash and other things of value in 2015 in hopes of persuading them to drop contract demands, and for embezzling funds for his own use. Iacobelli was ordered to pay $853,522 in restitution, a $10,000 fine and a $100 assessment. He had pleaded guilty in January after being indicted last July. The actions follow an investigation by the FBI, the IRS and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
Alfons “Al” Iacobelli, now 58, a … Read More ➡
In the overall scheme of things, Virdell King was a minor figure. But the evidence of her guilt was compelling all the same. On August 29, Ms. King, a former contract negotiator for the United Auto Workers, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to one count of conspiracy related to her diverting tens of thousands of dollars from the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center to her own use and the use of others. She had been charged on August 11. The two principals in the case, Monica Morgan, widow of late UAW Vice President General Holiefield, and Alphons Iaocbelli, a former Chrysler vice president and labor negotiator, were indicted in July for their roles in the scam. The actions follow a joint investigation by the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
Union Corruption Update … Read More ➡