Tag: Corruption

By on March 22, 2019

Federal investigators are expanding their ongoing corruption investigation into the United Auto Workers and Detroit Three by taking a long look at donated money intended to buy flowers for member funerals. The concern is that the UAW’s “flower fund” may have been used as a slush fund to finance personal expenses for union officials.

It wouldn’t be the first time. Prosecutors have already secured the convictions of seven people via a probe into the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center. Several jailed union officials, along with former FCA-VP Alphons Iacobelli, helped investigators uncover illicit funds funneled through training centers and charities — including the Leave the Light On Foundation, created by the late General Holiefield. Now they’re helping the feds branch out.  (Read More…)

By on March 19, 2019

Norwood Jewell, the former head of the United Auto Workers’ unit attached to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, has been charged by federal prosecutors in Detroit with violating the Labor Management Relations Act. This makes him the highest ranking UAW member to be charged in the union corruption case that appeared to be on pause while investigators reexamined suspects, following a string of convictions in 2018.

Federal investigators are relatively certain that FCA engaged in the widespread bribery of union officials who were able to tap into funds allocated for their National Training Center — a scheme dating back to 2009. According to defamed former FCA vice president Alphons Iacobelli, the goal was to keep union officials “fat, dumb and happy.” Millions of dollars were believed to have been used to buy the UAW’s cooperation, and Jewell appears to have gotten a slice.  (Read More…)

By on November 6, 2018

Uaw-Logos

The training center embezzlement scandal currently rocking the United Auto Workers began with the indictment of a former Fiat Chrysler labor chief who offered kickbacks to select union officials in exchange for favorable treatment. Alphons Iacobelli, the ex-FCA executive in question, was sentenced to five years in federal prison last August but spent nearly 10 months helping the FBI’s investigation into unionized corruption, resulting in additional indictments.

Federal prosecutors have secured convictions of seven people linked to the conspiracy at this point, claiming FCA executives provided gifts or covert cash payments through the jointly operated UAW-Chrysler National Training Center in an effort to influence collective bargaining. It became such a problem that several union officials now claim they engaged in illicit activities because they were fearful of bucking the trend, losing their six-figure salaries, and being forced back onto factory floors — you know, like the people they were supposed to be representing.  (Read More…)

By on January 4, 2018

Uaw-Logos

The United Auto Workers’ executive board has selected Terry Dittes, current regional director on the East Coast, to become the union’s newest vice president. Dittes is tasked with overseeing the UAW’s Fiat Chrysler department, which is currently involved in an ugly federal corruption probe involving millions of dollars from a joint training center allegedly embezzled by both union and company officials.

Replacing Norwood Jewell, whose retirement became effective upon the close of 2017, Dittes is stepping in roughy six months before his first four-year term was supposed to end. While Jewell has not been formally charged with corruption, his supervisory role during the FCA-UAW scandal likely forced the early retirement.  (Read More…)

By on November 6, 2017

marchionne, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Apparently, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne had an extended chat with authorities at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in downtown Detroit one year before the $4.5 million corruption scandal involving the automaker’s training center was made public.

Marchionne and his lawyer participated in a private meeting in July 2016, discussing the alleged corruption between FCA executives and high-ranking members of the UAW with investigators. One year later, former Fiat Chrysler Vice President Alphons Iacobelli was indicted and accused of funneling kickbacks to UAW officials. (Read More…)

By on August 10, 2016

2017 Kia Forte Sedan

When the new Kia factory in Nuevo León, Mexico reaches full capacity, 300,000 vehicles will leave the plant each year. At the same time, a jail cell door could slam on the government officials who brought it there.

The former governor of the Mexican state will stand trial on corruption charges linked to the tax deal behind the $1 billion assembly plant, Reuters reports. Prosecutors accuse Rodrigo Medina, along with 30 officials, friends and family members, of draining $196 million from public coffers. (Read More…)

By on January 5, 2016

chicago-crushes-redflex

Twenty-fifteen was a tough year for Redflex, the well-known and thoroughly-loathed Australian purveyor of corruption, bribery, and traffic-ticket cameras.

Although the firm’s US arm obtained a small victory in the $300 million lawsuit filed against it by the city of Chicago, getting the case transferred to federal court, Chicago is expanding the scope of its lawsuit in response. Meanwhile, smaller municipalities are abandoning Redflex in droves — and the numbers make it easy to see why.

(Read More…)

By on September 1, 2015

Red light camera in Beaverton, Oregon

Chicago wants $300 million from the company it hired to photograph, ticket and follow drivers after it was revealed that executives bribed city officials for the contract, the Chicago Tribune is reporting.

Executives for Redflex paid over $2 million to city officials through a bag man for the $124 million contract from the city, which started in 2003. City officials are suing for roughly triple that amount, including penalties.

Redflex has been accused of handing out thousands of unnecessary tickets to motorists, including 13,000 in Chicago alone, according to the Tribune.  (Read More…)

By on June 22, 2015

It’s the kind of disgraceful corruption that would have seen its perpetrators swinging from a tree in a more forthright age: an alleged $2 million bribery program that has already seen a Redflex consultant plead guilty to charges of delivering over $570,000 in cash and other bribes to Chicago’s former managing deputy commissioner of transportation. (Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, who was long, ahem, a tireless ally of Redflex before reluctantly ending the city contract with the firm when all the evidence on the issue because too obvious to be ignored any further, was re-elected in a runoff election recently.)

But the blood-soaked hands of Redflex, whose cameras often increase accidents at the intersections where they are making money for the company, have been putting money in other pockets outside Chicagoland.

(Read More…)

By on December 2, 2014

cashisking

 

Though I’ve been a Judge at The 24 Hours of LeMons for over 5 years now, it wasn’t until a brush with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome that I decided to amp up my Mad Bribery Skills.

Not just with cash, that’s horribly un-entertaining unless it involves getting busted F1 style.  So like any good criminal, let me boast about my bounty of ill-gotten booty in a tale that’s sure to please.

(Read More…)

By on November 25, 2013

McLaren-P1-production-model-side. Photo courtesy AutoGuide.com

McLaren, like many makers of luxury goods, is having a difficult time moving their fine wares in China as of late, all thanks to a crackdown against lavish spending begun last year by the country’s Communist government.

(Read More…)

By on August 31, 2013
IMG_0006

Can you spot the reason for that “No Standing” sign?

This is a photograph taken recently at the Cadillac Place building, on West Grand Blvd just west of Woodward in Detroit. It used to be called the General Motors Building before GM decamped to the RenCen. To make sure that much office space (when it was built, the GM Bldg was the second largest in the world) wouldn’t go vacant in Detroit’s economically viable midtown area, the State of Michigan moved many of its Detroit area office workers into the renamed building. Some of those state employees work for the Michigan State Police, which has offices for their Detroit detachment on the Milwaukee Ave. side of the building. It’s not a full scale police post, there’s no public lobby, but it’s where state police hang out in Detroit when they aren’t busy protecting and serving the public, not to mention rescuing injured peregrine falcons. (Read More…)

By on October 17, 2012

Score one more for government control, corruption, and general silliness. New York’s TLC threw down the glove a while ago on the “Uber” application which allows taxi and “black car” drivers to arrange rides over the Internet. This isn’t the first time TLC has acted all crazy and stuff. Wait, wrong TLC. Oh well — the sentence two previous to this one applies even without the link.

You can’t fight City Hall — after all, this is the same commission which magically decided to replace every taxi in New York with Japanese minivans assembled in Mexico that didn’t actually exist at the time of the decision, and nobody said nothing, yo. No surprise, then, that Uber is leaving Gotham like Batman riding that bomb out to the ocean in the last Dark Knight film.

(Read More…)

By on February 15, 2011

Volkswagen had unannounced visitors last week. German police raided eight offices in four German cities to secure evidence in a big corruption scandal, the Munich newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reports. According to the paper, managers of  Deutsche Telekom had attempted to land a several hundred million Euro contract from Volkswagen by extending the sponsorship contract for the Wolfsburg soccer club VFL Wolfsburg. (Read More…)

By on December 15, 2010

Remember the Schadenfreude when the Department of Justice shook down Daimler for $185 million for corruption allegedly perpetrated in U.S. jurisdictions such as Russia, China, Turkey, Egypt, Nigeria, Iraq, Turkmenistan, and a host of others? To add insult to  imbursements, Daimler even had to endure former FBI director and Lewinsky-sperm-on-blue-dress investigator Louis Freeh as anti-corruption compliance officer. In the bargain, the NYSE lost Daimler as a listing, because no NYSE listing, no more SEC probes. Everybody knows that these inducements are quite common in the industry. As evidenced by a massive raid involving around 100 police officers. They descended today on Ford’s German plants, on an unidentified company in Leverkusen and on the private homes of Ford employees. (Read More…)

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