A federal court judge has approved former assistant U.S. attorney Neil Barofsky as the independent monitor for the UAW.
Judge David Lawson of the U.S. District Court in Detroit said in his order Wednesday, "Barofsky is qualified to serve in the role of monitor, has sufficient knowledge and experience to do so effectively, and is free from any apparent conflict of interest."
Barofsky is a partner in the law firm of Jenner & Block, headquartered in Chicago, and was a key player in stabilizing the economy in the 2008 financial crisis. He also leads his firm's monitorship program and previously served as monitor for Credit Suisse Securities LLC and Credit Suisse AG following billion-dollar settlements, according to a previous court filing.
Barofsky has been an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and was appointed as the initial special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, "an investigative agency that he built from scratch," according to a previous court filing.
One of Barofsky's main responsibilities will be to oversee the upcoming referendum election to decide how the union's top leaders are selected. It's a key piece of the deal struck between the union and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit that signaled the end of the criminal investigation into the UAW following the wide-ranging corruption probe.
The approval of Barofsky puts a six-month deadline on the secret ballot election. Top UAW leaders have traditionally been selected by delegates at a convention, but if members approve a change, they could determine directly who future UAW presidents and members of the union's International Executive Board are.
Barofsky also "has the power to oversee the operations of the UAW, to investigate possible fraud or corruption within the union, and to impose discipline on UAW officers and members before an Independent Adjudications Officer also appointed by the Court," according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Acting U.S. Attorney Mohsin said the monitor will benefit the UAW's rank-and-file members.
“The men and women of the UAW deserve honest and faithful leaders dedicated to serving the best interests of the membership," Mohsin said in a news release. “We believe that oversight by an Independent Monitor will help to ensure that the rights and interests of the UAW’s membership are protected. I am confident that Neil Barofsky will provide tough but fair oversight of the UAW.”
The court's approval follows the sentencing on Tuesday of former UAW President Dennis Williams in the corruption scandal.
Williams, who pleaded guilty in September to conspiracy to embezzle union funds, was sentenced to 21 months in prison and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine in addition to restitution to the UAW amounting to $132,000.
Fifteen people, including both former UAW officials and Fiat Chrysler executives, have been convicted. FCA, which merged with Peugeot maker PSA Group this year to form Stellantis, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge and agreed to pay $30 million for its role.©2021 www.freep.com. Visit at freep.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.