Ex-UAW Prez Dennis Williams Snared by Corruption Probe, Charged With Embezzlement

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

The writing was on the wall for months, ever since federal agents raided former United Auto Workers president Dennis Williams’ home last September.

Since hosting those gun-toting visitors, Williams cooled his heels, uncharged by waiting for the inevitable hammer to drop. We say inevitable, as Williams’ name was mentioned as a co-conspirator in the trial of another UAW official, with Williams accused of funneling funds earmarked for UAW members into lavish living and gifts for himself and his fellow embezzlers.

In the meantime, Williams watched the union’s previous president — his successor — step down and subsequently be charged for the same illicit deeds court documents claim he performed.

On Thursday, the inevitable came.

As reported by The Detroit News, Williams has been charged with conspiracy to embezzle union funds — making him the 15th official charged in the years-long federal investigation into corruption among UAW brass.

Similar charges were laid against ex-president Gary Jones in March.

As Williams was charged in a criminal information, something we’ve seen before, it’s assumed the former union boss plans to plead guilty and perhaps name more names in a bid to reduce his eventual sentence. If found guilty, Williams could face 5 years behind bars.

It’s very likely Jones spilled his guts, thus leading federal agents, once again, to Williams’ door. Last year, a piece in The Detroit News identified Williams as the mysterious “UAW Official B” listed in documents pertaining to the trial of another busted UAW official. The unnamed official helped co-conspirators spirit away more than $1 million from UAW coffers to spend of golf equipment, high-end booze, and Palm Springs villa rentals.

The court filing claims that Williams, between 2013 and his retirement in 2018, joined six other senior UAW officials to drain the union’s coffers for personal use.

“The charges today are further steps forward in our relentless effort to ensure that the over 400,000 men and women of the UAW have honest and ethical leadership,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider in the news release. “The UAW’s members deserve leaders dedicated to serving the members and their families, not serving themselves.”

Eager to avoid a federal takeover of the union, current UAW President Rory Gamble has enacted a number of reforms, with the union’s international board deciding to distance itself from bad actors who once headed the joint. The lakeside retreat built for Williams in northern Michigan has been sold off. Meanwhile, the union is no longer paying Williams’ legal fees, which neared a third of a million dollars last year, and has demanded the former president pay back $56,000.

[Image: Daniel J. Macy/Shutterstock]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Aug 27, 2020

    "our relentless effort to ensure that the over 400,000 men and women of the UAW have honest and ethical leadership" -> Who is working on ensuring "honest and ethical leadership" for the XXX million citizens of the U.S.? (By the way, try to find out how many U.S. citizens there are - you may surprise yourself.) OK, forget the honest and ethical leadership for now - does anyone have quarters to do laundry?

    • See 2 previous
    • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on Aug 29, 2020

      @Lou_BC You are both correct. In most political processes/situations a minority of 'enthusiasts' gain control over the process. Think back to elections for your high school or college student council. For municipal/regional elections. And it quite often also applies to unions. Too many people just do not vote. This can only be overcome by educating and motivating the voting group and achieving high voting/turnout rates. By making access either for voters. Rather than working to limit voters' access, voting should become mandatory. With a penalty for not registering and/or voting.

  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Aug 28, 2020

    Self-dealing? Embezzlement? Corrupt leadership? The UAW should be dissolved! Oh, wait...

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