Prosecutors have accused UAW President Gary Jones and another union official who worked in the Missouri office Jones once led with embezzling as much as $700,000, in the latest twist in the ongoing corruption probe.
Jones, previously identified as UAW Official A, is referenced repeatedly in a criminal information filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Detroit against Edward Robinson, who had been a union official at least until September, according to the paperwork.
Following raids on the homes of Jones and his predecessor Dennis Williams as well as other locations, a source told the Free Press Jones is the Official A referenced in federal charging documents.
The new documents say Robinson, Vance Pearson, who was director of the same region in Missouri and is currently on leave facing his own charges, and officials identified as Jones and Williams, among others, embezzled more than $1.5 million.
"During the course of the conspiracy, Edward N. Robinson made significant purchases of high-end liquor, cigars, wine, golf apparel, golf clubs and other lavish expenses at the direction of and for senior UAW officials," the document said.
Jones and Williams have not been charged, but a neighbor saw money being removed from Jones' home in Canton when it was raided in August, and the latest filing says UAW Official A (Jones) had more than $32,000 in cash at his residence.
The paperwork paints a dramatic picture of union officials concerned about the federal investigation, with references to a "burner phone," and assurances by Jones, as official A, allegedly telling Robinson that one of his relatives would be taken care of if he took responsibility for the embezzlement.
The charges continue the somewhat regular drip of allegations leveled by the government against high-level UAW officials in the midst of the union's negotiations with the Detroit Three.
Because the charges of conspiracy to embezzle union funds and to defraud the United States were filed as an information, Robinson is expected to plead guilty. The charges were first reported by the Detroit News.
The charges against Robinson, who had been the president of the UAW Region 5 Midwest States Community Action Program Council, brings the number of those charged in the scheme to 12. The scandal blew into the open in 2017 when Fiat Chrysler's former lead labor negotiator, Alphons Iacobelli, and Monica Morgan, the widow of former UAW Vice President General Holiefield, were charged.
The UAW Midwest CAP, as it's referred to in the paperwork, operated out of the Region 5 office in Hazelwood, Missouri. Region 5 is a 17-state UAW region stretching from Missouri to California.
UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg released this statement late Thursday: "We take any allegation or claim about the misuse of union resources very seriously. The UAW is grounded in the principle of putting our members first, and that belief has never wavered. The UAW remains focused on negotiating and finalizing strong contracts for our members -- especially during this round of auto negotiations."
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