Ex-UAW Official Sentenced in Union Bribery Scandal

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
ex uaw official sentenced in union bribery scandal

Michael Grimes, former executive assistant and board member of the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources, was sentenced to 28 months in prison Wednesday after being convicted of money laundering and wire fraud.

While the sentence could have been longer, prosecutors reportedly asked for leniency due to Grimes’ cooperation with the broader investigation. Initially pushing for about four years of jail time, they eventually toned the recommendation down to just two. U.S. District Judge Bernard A. Friedman acknowledged the defendant’s usefulness in helping federal authorities sniff out more union and industry corruption, then decided to stick him with an extra couple of months to send a message.

Like many tied to the scandal, Grimes pleaded guilty and started working with investigators almost immediately. According to Automotive News, he also requested God’s forgiveness and apologized to the union during court proceedings. The UAW doesn’t seem interested in accepting apologies, however. Its board filed its own action against Grimes in late January, nullifying his membership in a bid to protect itself, and likely won’t be pleased with any finger pointing he offered during interrogation.

From Automotive News:

U.S. prosecutors say Grimes conspired with two unidentified senior UAW officials on multiple schemes going back to at least 2006. Grimes, according to prosecutors, pressured a vendor of custom UAW logo products into giving him a $60,000 mortgage and periodic bribes totaling nearly $900,000.

The prosecution’s criminal information against Grimes says the trio also arranged for the same vendor to sell the joint UAW-GM training center 50,000 “Team UAW-GM” jackets for $6 million in 2011 and 55,000 backpacks for $5.8 million in 2016. Grimes got the vendor to give him more than $1 million in kickbacks for those orders, according to the prosecution.

Grimes used bribe payments to buy, among other things, a 2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and property in Florida.

He has agreed to forfeit a house estimated to be worth $600,000 in Fort Myers, FL. The previously mentioned Jeep Wrangler is also being handed over, in addition to another automobile, an ATV, two boats, and a bunch of jewelry. Grime’s lawyer, Michael Manley (who is not related to the FCA executive), attempted to make it clear to the court that his client has cooperated and did not technically embezzle money from the UAW.

Judge Friedman said that wasn’t exactly enough to absolve the defendant, adding that the information gleaned through court proceedings could prove useful in subsequent corruption probes. “I was very surprised to learn that the union had a shop right inside the plant,” he said. “I’d never heard of such a thing.”

Federal agents remain suspicious that union leadership received kickbacks after giving business executives contracts to produce branded clothing and trinkets — with UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada and her predecessor, Joe Ashton, being persons of interest. Aston has already pleaded guilty and is currently awaiting sentencing, though prosecutors have been careful to hold off on charging people in direct relation to the trinket issue. Instead, the focus has turned to the misappropriation of membership dues and industry bribes that likely affected contract negotiations with automakers.

Thus far, they’ve managed to convict 12 individuals — with more presumed as both investigations continue.

[Image: Daniel J. Macy/Shutterstock]

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  • Mike-NB2 Mike-NB2 on Feb 20, 2020

    I have had some personal experience withe the 1.6L engine used in the Chevette. I was never so happy to see a car leave my possession.

  • Mike-NB2 Mike-NB2 on Feb 20, 2020

    I have had some personal experience withe the 1.6L engine used in the Chevette. I was never so happy to see a car leave my possession.

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  • Nrd515 Usually for me it's been Arby's for pretty much forever, except when the one near my house dosed me with food poisoning twice in about a year. Both times were horrible, but the second time was just so terrible it's up near the top of my medical horror stories, and I have a few of those. Obviously, I never went to that one again. I'm still pissed at Arby's for dropping Potato Cakes, and Culver's is truly better anyway. It will be Arby's fish for my "cheat day", when I eat what I want. No tartar sauce and no lettuce on mine, please. And if I get a fish and a French Dip & Swiss? Keep the Swiss, and the dip, too salty. Just the meat and the bread for me, thanks. The odds are about 25% that they will screw one or both of them up and I will have to drive through again to get replacement sandwiches. Culver's seems to get my order right many times in a row, but if I hurry and don't check my order, that's when it's screwed up and garbage to me. My best friend lives on Starbucks coffee. I don't understand coffee's appeal at all. Both my sister and I hate anything it's in. It's like green peppers, they ruin everything they touch. About the only things I hate more than coffee are most condiments, ranked from most hated to..who cares..[list=1][*]Tartar sauce. Just thinking about it makes me smell it in my head. A nod to Ranch here too. Disgusting. [/*][*]Mayo. JEEEEZUS! WTF?[/*][*]Ketchup. Sweet puke tasting sludge. On my fries? Salt. [/*][*]Mustard. Yikes. Brown, yellow, whatever, it's just awful.[/*][*]Pickles. Just ruin it from the pickle juice. No. [/*][*]Horsey, Secret, whatever sauce. Gross. [/*][*]American Cheese. American Sleeze. Any cheese, I don't want it.[/*][*]Shredded lettuce. I don't hate it, but it's warm and what's the point?[/*][*]Raw onion. Totally OK, but not something I really want. Grilled onions is a whole nother thing, I WANT those on a burger.[/*][*]Any of that "juice" that Subway and other sandwich places want to put on. NO, HELL NO! Actually, move this up to #5. [/*][/list=1]
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