The unfinished business of the United Auto Workers scandal is nearing its end. A week ago, on November 17, Joe Ashton, former vice president of the UAW’s General Motors Department, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to 30 months in prison for receiving over $250,000 in illegal bribes and kickbacks from a union vendor, and for conspiring with two fellow union officials to launder the proceeds. He had pleaded guilty last December. Several ranking UAW officials, including its two previous presidents, already have pleaded guilty to embezzlement, racketeering and tax fraud charges. The actions follow a joint investigation by the FBI, the IRS and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
Ashton, now 72, a resident of Ocean View, N.J., is a retired UAW vice president. He now is also one 15 defendants convicted of financial crimes related to … Read More ➡
The Gary Jones era at the United Auto Workers was brief. But if Jones wants a brief prison sentence, he’ll be at the mercy of prosecutors. Two days ago, June 3, Jones, UAW president until last November, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to embezzlement, racketeering and tax fraud related to his role in the diversion of between $1 million and $1.5 million in union funds toward personal luxuries such as vacations, golf outings and cigars, and their coverup. He is set for sentencing on October 6. Thus far, more than a dozen union and auto industry officials have been convicted following an ongoing probe by the FBI, the IRS and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General. A federal takeover of the 400,000-member UAW remains a possibility.
Union Corruption Update has been following this phase of the probe … Read More ➡
The wages of corruption at the United Auto Workers continue to be paid. On February 18, Michael Grimes, a retired senior official at the Detroit-based union’s General Motors Department, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to 28 months in prison and a year of supervised release for honest services fraud and money laundering conspiracy related to his extraction of roughly $2 million in payoffs from UAW vendors through multiple schemes. He also must pay about $1.5 million restitution plus a $200 assessment. Grimes had pleaded guilty in September after being charged in August. The actions follow a probe by the FBI, the IRS and Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
Grimes, now in his mid-60s, a resident of Fort Myers, Fla., had served as a $150,000-a-year administrative assistant to United Auto Workers Vice President Estrada. Apparently, it wasn’t enough. … Read More ➡
It’s official: The United Auto Workers has been declared a racket. On January 6, recently departed UAW President Gary Jones (in photo) and his immediate predecessor, Dennis Williams, were cited, albeit under assumed names, in Detroit federal court as participants in a racketeering enterprise. The designation was part of a new charge against Vance Pearson, former director of a major regional affiliate and a member of the union’s international executive board, of embezzlement conspiracy. U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider had been hinting at such action these last few months. Jones had resigned his post under pressure in November. The actions follow a joint probe by the FBI, the IRS and the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
Union Corruption Update more than once has covered this scandal, the details of which provide a hard look into how the Detroit-based union, with around 400,000 active members, … Read More ➡
Gary Jones’ tenure as head of the United Auto Workers was brief. But he and the union are preparing for what may be a long ordeal. On November 20, Jones, beset by a slew of federal corruption charges involving extensive illegal payoffs exacted from vendors by ex-officials of the UAW’s General Motors Department, abruptly resigned as president. Nine days later, he ended his union membership. The actions occurred shortly after the UAW executive board filed paperwork to expel him and a regional director, Vance Pearson. While Jones has not been accused of anything (yet), his home was one of several sites raided in August by federal agents. In a related event, GM last month filed a racketeering suit against Fiat Chrysler on grounds that the latter misused the collective bargaining process to facilitate a merger.
If these were normal times, the 400,000-member, Detroit-based United Auto Workers might be … Read More ➡
The strike by nearly 50,000 United Auto Workers against General Motors ended after nearly six weeks on October 25. But Jeffrey Pietrzyk’s troubles are far from over. On October 22, Pietrzyk, a retired top aide to ex-UAW Vice President Joe Ashton, pleaded guilty in Ann Arbor federal court to honest services fraud and money laundering charges in connection with his acceptance of about $123,000 in bribes and kickbacks from union vendors. He had been charged on September 20. His offenses were part of a dozen-year, $2 million scheme in the union’s GM Department led by now-convicted ex-UAW official Michael Grimes. The actions follow an investigation by the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
Union Corruption Update covered this scandal in August and September. The United Auto Workers’ General Motors Department, like its Chrysler Department, has been the focus … Read More ➡
When it comes to self-dealing, the United Auto Workers’ General Motors Department might rival its Chrysler Department. On September 4, Michael Grimes (in photo), a now-retired senior UAW official, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to honest services fraud and money laundering in connection with his receipt of over $1.5 million in illegal payoffs from UAW vendors over a dozen years. Eight days later, on September 12, a prominent union regional official, Vance Pearson, was arrested and charged with fraud, embezzlement and money laundering connected to separate schemes. The actions follow a joint investigation by the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General.
Union Corruption Update described the case of Michael Grimes a few weeks ago. Grimes, now 65 and living in Fort Myers, Fla., had served as a $150,000-a-year administrative assistant to United … Read More ➡
A few weeks ago, U.S. Attorney for Eastern Michigan Matthew Schneider said after the sentencing of a United Auto Workers official, “We’re not done.” He wasn’t kidding. This Wednesday, FBI and IRS agents in four states raided the homes of UAW President Gary Jones (in photo) and former UAW President Dennis Williams, plus the union’s rural Michigan conference retreat/training center and a couple of other sites in search of evidence of corruption. The actions follow the convictions of several UAW and Chrysler officials for their roles in a bribery and embezzlement scheme, and charges announced this August 14 against now-retired union senior official Michael Grimes for receiving the bulk of nearly $2 million in vendor kickbacks. He pleaded not guilty to wire fraud and money laundering on Wednesday.
Union Corruption Update has covered the United Auto Workers-Fiat Chrysler scandal since it broke wide open in July 2017. The focus … Read More ➡