Chicago-Area UAW Shop Chairman Pleads Guilty to Forgery; Sentenced

On March 5, Milton Thomas, former shop chairman of United Auto Workers Local 890, pleaded guilty in Cook County (Ill.) Circuit Court to one count of forgery in an amount of between $10,000 and $100,000 from the Morton Grove union. Thomas allegedly had made out unauthorized checks to himself and then forged disbursement vouchers to give the appearance of the checks going for legitimate business purposes. Immediately after, he was sentenced to two years of probation, and ordered to pay a $75 fine and submit to DNA indexing. Thomas had been indicted in March 2018 following an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

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Western Michigan UAW Secretary Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

On March 10, Brian Rittenhouse, former financial secretary of United Auto Workers Local 1320, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan to one count of embezzlement from the Grandville (near Grand Rapids)-based union. He had been indicted for embezzlement and false record-keeping in January. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Fiat Chrysler Agrees to Plead Guilty and Pay $30M for Bribing UAW Officials

There was one unfinished piece of business after Fiat Chrysler and French auto giant PSA had merged. And it was an expensive piece at that. On January 27, the Auburn Hills, Mich.-based automaker announced that it would plead guilty in Detroit federal court to conspiring to bribe officials of the United Auto Workers with millions of dollars in cash and gifts via its worker training center to discourage the union from raising certain demands during collective bargaining. The company also agreed to pay a $30 million fine and undergo three years of probation. At least eight persons were convicted in this scandal since the initial indictments of July 2017. Prosecutors had charged Fiat Chrysler earlier that day. 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.   

Last month was momentous for the auto … Read More ➡

Ex-Midwest UAW Boss Sentenced for Role in Conspiracy

On January 27, Edward “Nick” Robinson, former president of the Midwest Community Action Program (CAP) Council of the United Auto Workers, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to one year in prison and one year of supervised release for his role in a conspiracy to embezzle about $1.5 million in union funds and avoid federal taxes based on that income. He also was ordered to pay a combined $342,000 to the UAW and the IRS. Robinson, along with several other union officials including now-convicted former International Presidents Gary Jones and Dennis Williams, submitted vouchers for nonexistent expenses and wrote fraudulent checks to divert funds from the council. He had pleaded in guilty in March 2020. 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.… Read More ➡

UAW Secretary in Western Michigan Indicted for Embezzlement

On January 12, Brian Rittenhouse, former financial secretary of United Auto Workers Local 1320, was indicted in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan on one count each for embezzlement and false record-keeping against the Grandville (near Grand Rapids) union. The charges follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Justice Department, UAW Reach Settlement on Reform Plan

Dennis Williams

The United Auto Workers knew a settlement was coming. Now comes the hard part: compliance. This past Monday, December 14, Matthew Schneider, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, announced that his office and the UAW had settled a civil suit filed earlier that day against the union based on acts of fraud, embezzlement and tax evasion committed by certain among its members. Criminal investigations had led to charges and convictions of 15 individuals, mostly union officials, including recent UAW Presidents Gary Jones and Dennis Williams. Most thus far have received sentences. The consent order, which requires court approval, creates an Independent Monitor possessed of the authority for up to six years to investigate and discipline corruption.

Union Corruption Update has covered this two-part investigation many times (such as here and here) since it broke open in July 2017. The 400,000-member, Detroit-based United Auto Workers, though … Read More ➡

Ex-UAW Vice President Joe Ashton Sentenced for Taking Bribes, Kickbacks

The unfinished business of the United Auto Workers scandal is nearing its end. A week ago, on November 17, Joe Ashton, former vice president of the UAW’s General Motors Department, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to 30 months in prison for receiving over $250,000 in illegal bribes and kickbacks from a union vendor, and for conspiring with two fellow union officials to launder the proceeds. He had pleaded guilty last December. Several ranking UAW officials, including its two previous presidents, already have pleaded guilty to embezzlement, racketeering and tax fraud charges. The actions follow a joint investigation by the FBI, the IRS and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Ashton, now 72, a resident of Ocean View, N.J., is a retired UAW vice president. He now is also one 15 defendants convicted of financial crimes related to … Read More ➡

Ohio UAW Local Official Sentenced for Embezzlement

On November 5, Douglas Dye, former unit chairman of United Auto Workers Local 12, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio to one year of probation for embezzling funds from the Toledo union and another year of probation for falsifying union records to conceal the thefts. He also was ordered to pay a $2,500 fine and a $125 special assessment on top of the $8,490 in restitution he already paid. Dye had pleaded guilty in July to embezzling $8,443 in union assets and concealment after being indicted in January. The actions follow an investigation by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Former UAW Treasurer in Michigan Sentenced for Theft

On August 27, Larissa Iveson, daughter of a former treasurer of United Auto Workers Local 373, was sentenced in the 12th Judicial District Court of Jackson County, Michigan to two years of probation for theft in an unspecified amount from the Litchfield-based local. She had pleaded guilty in May. The actions follow a probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.… Read More ➡

Ex-UAW President Dennis Williams Charged with Embezzlement

The fall of Dennis Williams seemed as inevitable as it was anticlimactic. Yesterday, August 27, Williams, who was president of the United Auto Workers during 2014-18, was charged in Detroit federal court with conspiracy to embezzle funds from the 400,000-member union for his own use, including $56,000 for housing and luxury travel. His immediate successor, Gary Jones, had pleaded guilty in June to embezzlement, racketeering and tax fraud related to his diversion of over $1 million in UAW funds. As Williams allegedly conspired with Jones in some of these thefts, he will have a hard time convincing a jury of his innocence. More than a dozen union officials and auto executives thus far have pleaded guilty as part of an ongoing probe of the union by the FBI, the IRS and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.

Dennis Williams, now 67, was elected presidentRead More ➡