The U.S. Department of Justice has reached a proposed civil settlement with the United Auto Workers (UAW) in the gigantic corruption case that absorbed two former presidents and a slew of union officers over the last few years. With many involved already serving the first part of their prison sentence, the UAW has reportedly agreed to hold a referendum among the rank-and-file to change the way it elects the top brass. The proposal predictably includes some court oversight designed to catch any new instances of fraud coming from inside the union but doesn’t appear to address the corporate aspect.
As a positive, it’s not assumed that the union will see a complete government takeover. Like laundry, it’s already better to separate your alleged corruption to create legal buffer zones.
Dennis Williams, the former president of the United Auto Workers, pleaded guilty to embezzling union funds on Wednesday. His copping to the conspiracy charge comes after his successor, Gary Jones, similarly pleaded guilty to misappropriating more than $1.5 million from the UAW in June. They’re joined by numerous co-conspirators that have been caught in a gigantic federal probe hoping to address union corruption and appears to have hit pay dirt.
Appearing by video in the U.S. District Court in Detroit, Williams entered his plea and apologized about the current state of the UAW. “I want to close by apologizing to this court, to my family and to each and every hard-working member paying dues,” he said. “I hope by accepting responsibility for my actions and for my failures, this process might help restore the faith in our union.”
Gary Jones, the former United Auto Workers president who stepped down last November amid growing suspicion of wrongdoing, pleaded guilty Wednesday to involvement in a racketeering scheme that saw UAW officials soak themselves in funds earmarked for workers.
Jones is the biggest fish thus far caught in a wide net cast by federal investigators — a net that’s captured nearly a dozen current or former UAW execs with their hands in the till. In the former UAW prez’s case, more than a million dollars’ worth of union dues flowed not into training programs or other benefits, but into lavish living and high-priced toys.
Will Jones see a lengthy term in the clink, you ask? What do you think?
Former United Auto Workers President Gary Jones was arraigned via video link yesterday, catapulting the disgraced union boss back into the headlines two months after his arrest on charges of embezzlement, racketeering, and defrauding the U.S. government.
During a videoconference held by the U.S. District Court in Detroit, Jones’ attorney entered a not-guilty plea for his client, though the former UAW boss is expected to plead guilty in June. The manner in which Jones was charged gives every indication a plea deal is in the works, with Jones’ assistance in fingering co-conspirators offered in exchange for a reduced sentence.
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.
The reforms announced by UAW Acting President Rory Gamble last week are already resulting in casualties. On Wednesday, the United Auto Workers Executive Board filed charges against President Gary Jones and Region 5 Director Vance Pearson under Article 30 of the UAW Constitution in a bid to oust them from the scandal-rocked union.
Jones, who took a leave of absence earlier this month amid growing suspicion of criminality, resigned almost immediately. Pearson, charged with embezzlement of union funds and money laundering, remains on his own leave of absence — one that’s likely to become permanent.
With UAW President Gary Jones taking a leave of absence during a broadening corruption probe into the union, acting head Rory Gamble is attempting to reassure members that there’ll be no more funny business.
“I know recent events concerning members of our leadership have disappointed and angered many of you. I am angry as well, but I am not here to pre-judge anyone. I am here to take this union forward,” he wrote in a letter.
The message, published Tuesday, saw Gamble take a firm stance on corruption and a slightly softer one regarding previously accused (or convicted) union leaders.
Hot on the heels of charges laid against his top aide, UAW President Gary Jones has taken a leave of absence, the union stated Saturday morning.
Two days ago, federal prosecutors charged UAW official Edward Robinson with conspiracy and fraud in an embezzlement scheme alleged to involve a number of top union execs. Sources who spoke to several media outlets this week fingered Jones as the “UAW Official A” mentioned in court documents.
Jones, who was nearly invisible in the ongoing contract talks between Detroit Three automakers and UAW bargaining teams, is alleged to have shared in the spoils of a nearly decade-long scheme that saw $1.5 million in union dues funnelled into executives’ pockets.
Organized labor is helping keep the high-end cigar industry profitable, federal investigators implied Thursday. Following a years-long investigation into widespread corruption among the union’s upper ranks, agents arrested UAW Region 5 Director Vance Pearson yesterday, hitting him with charges of embezzlement, mail and wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy.
Pearson, 58, took over his position from current UAW president Gary Jones last year. Prior to that, he served as Jones’ right-hand man in the Missouri post. The charges laid against Pearson cite numerous unnamed officials who helped organize the embezzlement, with three sources telling The Detroit News that one of those figures is the big man himself.
Oh, and Detroit Three contracts expire Saturday night.
The long-running federal probe into dirty dealings between domestic automakers and the United Auto Workers cranked up a few notches on Wednesday, with federal agents reportedly raiding the home of UAW President Gary Jones and ex-UAW boss Dennis Williams.
Sources told The Detroit News that raids were carried out in three states as investigators attempt to uncover just how high in the organization the corruption went. The move comes less than three weeks before UAW-Detroit Three contracts expire.
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