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

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
ex uaw prez dennis williams snared by corruption probe charged with embezzlement

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]

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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...

  • Nrd515 I bought an '88 S10 Blazer with the 4.3. We had it 4 years and put just about 48K on it with a bunch of trips to Nebraska and S. Dakota to see relatives. It had a couple of minor issues when new, a piece of trim fell off the first day, and it had a seriously big oil leak soon after we got it. The amazinly tiny starter failed at about 40K, it was fixed under some sort of secret warranty and we got a new Silverado as a loaner. Other than that, and a couple of tires that blew when I ran over some junk on the road, it was a rock. I hated the dash instrumentation, and being built like a gorilla, it was about an inch and a half too narrow for my giant shoulders, but it drove fine, and was my second most trouble free vehicle ever, only beaten by my '82 K5 Blazer, which had zero issues for nearly 50K miles. We sold the S10 to a friend, who had it over 20 years and over 400,000 miles on the original short block! It had a couple of transmissions, a couple of valve jobs, a rear end rebuild at 300K, was stolen and vandalized twice, cut open like a tin can when a diabetic truck driver passed out(We were all impressed at the lack of rust inside the rear quarters at almost 10 years old, and it just went on and on. Ziebart did a good job on that Blazer. All three of his sons learned to drive in it, and it was only sent to the boneyard when the area above the windshield had rusted to the point it was like taking a shower when it rained. He now has a Jeep that he's put a ton of money into. He says he misses the S10's reliablity a lot these days, the Jeep is in the shop a lot.
  • Jeff S Most densely populated areas have emission testing and removing catalytic converters and altering pollution devices will cause your vehicle to fail emission testing which could effect renewing license plates. In less populated areas where emission testing is not done there would probably not be any legal consequences and the converter could either be removed or gutted both without having to buy specific parts for bypassing emissions. Tampering with emission systems would make it harder to resell a vehicle but if you plan on keeping the vehicle and literally running it till the wheels fall off there is not much that can be done if there is no emission testing. I did have a cat removed on a car long before mandatory emission testing and it did get better mpgs and it ran better. Also had a cat gutted on my S-10 which was close to 20 years old which increased performance and efficiency but that was in a state that did not require emission testing just that reformulated gas be sold during the Summer months. I would probably not do it again because after market converters are not that expensive on older S-10s compared to many of the newer vehicles. On newer vehicles it can effect other systems that are related to the operating and the running of the vehicle. A little harder to defeat pollution devices on newer vehicles with all the systems run by microprocessors but if someone wants to do it they can. This law could be addressing the modified diesels that are made into coal rollers just as much as the gasoline powered vehicles with cats. You probably will still be able to buy equipment that would modify the performance of a vehicles as long as the emission equipment is not altered.
  • ToolGuy I wonder if Vin Diesel requires DEF.(Does he have issues with Sulfur in concentrations above 15ppm?)
  • ToolGuy Presented for discussion: https://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper2/thoreau/civil.html
  • Kevin Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?