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 the bulk of nearly $2 million in vendor kickbacks. He 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.