Gary Jones, ex-UAW president, gets reduced 28-month prison sentence

Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Business News

The statement said that "as for Gary Jones, his legacy in the UAW will go down in our union's history as a constant and incredulous reminder of how unchecked power leads to the natural end of absolute corruption."

UAW President Rory Gamble has dismissed concerns about the way the union picks its top leaders.

“How you elect someone does not define whether they're going to be corrupt or not. Corruption begins in the heart," Gamble has said. "To say how we elect our leadership involves corruption in any way is just not true. It is simply a political reach and something being perpetrated by people who see an opportunity here from a very bad situation.”

Jones, in his remarks to the judge, apologized to his family, his voice breaking with emotion, and to the union.

“I failed them and I failed the UAW who elected me as president and as director of Region 5," Jones said. "All I can say is I am sorry. I have let them down, I let my family down, and I let my union down. I pray every day that no harm comes to the UAW and they are able to be stronger and organized because of it."

Borman, noting at one point that Jones was nervous, had to instruct him to slow down so his comments could be properly recorded. Jones took some of his time to tout his early efforts at organizing new union units among California university researchers, which have recently borne fruit, and he noted that ”I pray every day that no harm comes to the UAW.”


Jones' attorney, J. Bruce Maffeo of New York, asked the judge to "measure the man as a whole" and described the "modest courage" that Jones exhibited when he decided to step down from his leadership of the UAW. There was "clearly an element of calculation" in stepping down and starting negotiations with the government, but he accepted responsibility for his role and didn't seek to blame it on others, Maffeo said.

"In a word, he's done all he can do," Maffeo said.

In their sentencing memo, prosecutors said Jones, who resigned as president less than a month after the strike's end as the union moved to oust him, had "engineered a scheme (prior to becoming president) to embezzle union funds so he and the other top union leaders could maintain a jet-setting lifestyle."

Jones, the memo said, used UAW dues money "to pay for anything and everything he and other top UAW leaders wanted." That included $60,000 worth of cigars, custom golf clubs, liquor, lavish meals and vacations for union leaders and their families. Jones also pocketed tens of thousands of dollars for himself, they said. Much of the wrongdoing was tied to union conventions and involved the submission of fraudulent invoices.


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