Former Fiat Chrysler Official Gets 66 Months for Role in UAW Conspiracy
On Monday, former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles labor relations chief Alphons Iacobelli was sentenced to 66 months in federal prison for tax evasion and his key role in the corporate conspiracy to win favorable treatment from the UAW. Apparently, his plea agreement didn’t help him avoid jail time, but it was enough to shave a few years off his sentence.
Iacobelli pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiring to violate the Labor Management Relations Act and for subscribing a false tax return in January. At the time, he was facing a maximum sentence that included eight years in prison. However, his $835,000 tax-restitution case is yet to be resolved and will be decided upon at a future date. Iacobelli will continue assisting with the investigation in the interim and, likely, beyond.
According to The Detroit News, Iacobelli stood before U.S. District Court Judge Paul Borman on Monday morning to say he was prepared to take full ownership for his crimes, promising to continue cooperating with the government in its ongoing investigation. “I fully accept responsibility,” Iacobelli said. “I am extremely sorry for what I did.”
Several auto workers attended Iacobelli’s sentencing hearing, including UAW retiree Richard Sheets, 63, who wore a black T-shirt with the words “Betrayed UAW Worker” written on the back. “People lost their jobs, people lost their benefits,” Sheets told reporters.
Iacobelli’s legal representation stated that he knowingly joined an ongoing conspiracy between the UAW and FCA, which has called into question the scruples of other high-ranking corporate/union officials and raised concerns about late Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne.
A 14-page memorandum accompanying Iacobelli’s sentencing was released last week. “FCA sought to obtain benefits, concessions and advantages in the negotiation and administration of collective bargaining agreements with the UAW in an effort to buy labor peace,” it reads. “High-level officials of the UAW sought to enrich themselves and live lavish lifestyles rather than zealously work on behalf of the best interests of tens of thousands of rank and file members of their union.”
Among the accused are FCA financial analyst Jerome Durden, ex-UAW Associate Director Virdell King, UAW official Keith Mickens, former FCA employee Michael Brown, and Nancy Johnson, the former aide to ex-UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell. While Jewell was previously charged with misusing funds, he has not been arraigned and was only implicated in the current UAW scandal. No conspiracy charges have been officially filed against him.
Likewise, claims have been made against UAW President Dennis Williams — who retired last June. According to testimony from the accused, Williams was said to have directed subordinates to use funds from Detroit’s automakers to pay for union travel, meals, and entertainment.
Monica Morgan, widow of the late UAW Vice President General Holiefield, was also charged with corruption. However, this was dismissed as part of a plea deal. A judge sentenced her to 18 months in prison for tax evasion in July.
The conspiracy dates to at least 2009 and was designed to barter concessions from the UAW by funneling money and illegal gifts to influential labor leaders. “He wishes he could go back years and make different decision, but he can’t,” Iacobelli’s lawyer David DuMouchel told the judge. “Al Iacobelli doesn’t get a do-over. The hardest part is Mr. Iacobelli has to face the fact he brought it on himself at a time when his life went off the rails.”
A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.
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