Former FCA Labor Chief and UAW Widow Charged in Union Corruption Conspiracy

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
former fca labor chief and uaw widow charged in union corruption conspiracy

Former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles labor relations chief Alphons Iacobelli and Monica Morgan, wife of late UAW Vice President General Holiefield, have been charged by a federal grand jury with violating the Labor Management Relations Act.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Detroit, the pair were indicted on Wednesday for corruption after a lengthy joint investigation between the FBI and the IRS.

Iacobelli is accused of acting in the interest of FCA by issuing over $1.2 million in illegal payments and bribes to union members — including Morgan and Holiefield. The former union executive’s untimely death appears to have thrust his widow into the spotlight and saved him the trouble of a lengthy trial.

Morgan is best known for her work as a photographer in Detroit, and for being accidentally shot in the stomach by her husband while he was cleaning his Desert Eagle handgun in 2013. Iacobelli is primarily known for negotiating killer deals with the UAW and an abrupt, scandal-related, retirement in 2015.

The indictment charges Iacobelli and others associated with FCA for making prohibited payments from 2009 to 2014 to Morgan, Holiefield, and others. According to The Detroit News, the document claims the payments bought designer clothing, extravagant jewelry, furniture, and paid off a $262,219 mortgage on Holiefield and Morgan’s residence in Harrison Township. The alleged payments were made via the bank and credit card accounts of the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center in Detroit.

Additionally, Iacobelli has been charged with multiple tax violations related to the diversion of over $1 million in funds from the same account into his own. That money is believed to have gone into extensive home renovations, a pool, hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal credit card expenses, the leasing of a private jet, a $350,000 Ferrari 458 Spider, and two Mont Blanc pens costing $37,500 each.

While it’s a shame FCA didn’t provide Iacobelli with a serviceable company car while it still held ownership of Ferrari, it’s still wrong to embezzle prospective bribery funds to purchase a 458 Spider. However, purchasing two pens for $75,000 should be a crime in itself. That level of flagrant decadence is simply unacceptable. Having never written with a five-figure pen, I am comfortably certain the difference between Uni-Ball and Mont Blanc is less notable than Dodge and Ferrari.

Meanwhile, Morgan was also charged with using her photography company, Wilson’s Diversified Products, and a third business to hide payments made by Iacobelli and others from FCA to Holiefield and herself.

“Today’s indictment alleges an outrageous abuse of power and misuse of this Chrysler executive’s position of trust. The diverted funds from the [National Training Center] could have and should have been used to benefit Chrysler employees,” Manny Muriel, special agent in charge of the Detroit office of the IRS department of criminal investigations, said in an official statement. “IRS Criminal Investigation and our law enforcement partners are particularly committed to stopping those individuals who use double fraud schemes to defraud corporate funds, bribe others for their own gains and cushion their personal wallets.”

Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, Daniel L. Lemisch, also announced the charging of former Controller of the UAW Jerome Durden with conspiracy to defraud the United States by impairing, impeding, and obstructing the Internal Revenue Service. Additional FCA employees and UAW members are referenced in the indictment; however, their names were redacted, as was Durden’s.

General Motors hired Iacobelli in January of 2016 as its executive director of labor relations, though it’s unclear if he’s still employed by the automaker. GM has yet to issue comment, much like the UAW, while FCA has stated it is unaware of any malfeasance and is holding the accused employees and the National Training Center, which it was clear to mention is an “independent legal entity,” fully responsible.

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