By on March 5, 2020

UAW

Federal authorities have charged former United Auto Workers President Gary Jones with embezzling more than $1 million of union funds.

It’s the latest round of charges and the highest-profile target thus far in the ongoing investigation into corruption among the union’s upper ranks. A criminal information reveals Jones, who resigned as president last November, plans to plead guilty and cooperate with federal investigators.

Three of Jones’ former aides, all of whom were swept up in the corruption probe, provided assistance that led to today’s charges. The former UAW boss was one of several top execs who prosecutors say diverted union funds towards lavish living and toys.

Investigators turned up the heat on Jones early, but it was last year’s criminal proceedings against his former top aide, Edward Robinson, that brought Jones’ tenure to an end. Media reports named the UAW president as one of Robinson’s accomplices, conspiring to divert funds earmarked for workers towards trips, expensive villas, golf equipment, and high-end booze. In court records, Jones was listed as “UAW Official A.”

Authorities raided his home in August. Prosecutors claim the embezzlement took place from 2010 to last September; Jones was elected president in June of 2018.

“All UAW members including the UAW leadership are and should be angry about the charges of former UAW member Gary Jones and his alleged actions,” the union said in a statement. “This is a violation of trust, a violation of the sacred management of union dues, and goes against everything we believe in as a Union. Jones and all who betrayed the trust of our union should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law, with no exceptions.”

The union’s decision to refer to a former president, one who resigned less than 4 months ago, a “member” is notable.

The long-running probe into bribery, money laundering, and embezzlement at the UAW and its Detroit Three partners has thus far convicted 13 people — three of them Fiat Chrysler officials, 10 of them UAW members. It’s not expected to end there. Jones’ predecessor, Dennis Williams, is also on the hot seat, and Jones’ cooperation could be what the feds need to pin charges on him. Williams also saw his home raided last year.

Court documents lists four unnamed co-conspirators in the Jones case.

As all of this dirt swirls in the public eye, current UAW boss Rory Gamble has vowed to root out corruption in the hopes of preventing a federal takeover of the union. Late last year, he released a comprehensive plan to encourage whistleblowing and financial transparency.

Gamble himself has come under the microscope of federal investigators, though he denies any involvement in shady financial dealings.

[Source: The Detroit News] [Image: UAW]

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