Former United Auto Workers President Gary Jones charged with conspiracy to embezzle more than $1M

FILE – In this July 16, 2019, file photo, Gary Jones, United Auto Workers President, speaks during the opening of their contract talks with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in Auburn Hills, Mich. Federal prosecutors have charged the former president of the United Auto Workers with corruption, Thursday, March 5, 2020, alleging he conspired with others at the union to embezzle more than $1 million. Jones quit his post in November 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

Federal prosecutors on Thursday charged the former president of the United Auto Workers with corruption, alleging he conspired with others at the union to embezzle more than $1 million.

Gary Jones, who quit his post in November, has been under scrutiny for months. Agents conducted a public search of his suburban Detroit home last summer. Key allies also have pleaded guilty as part of the government’s sweeping corruption probe.

Jones was charged with conspiracy in a document titled a criminal “information,” which signals that a guilty plea is likely.

The Associated Press left a message with his attorney seeking comment.

Ten union officials and an official’s spouse have pleaded guilty since 2017. The investigation began with the discovery that Fiat Chrysler money from a Fiat Chrysler-UAW job training center was stolen. But it then stretched to embezzlement of union funds.

The court document describes a scheme to enjoy the high life. Jones and other officials set up accounts that were supposed to be used to pay legitimate conference expenses in California, according to the government, but officials instead used the funds to pay for “private villas, high-end liquor and meal expenses, golfing apparel, golf clubs and green fees.”

On Monday, Edward “Nick” Robinson became the latest person to plead guilty. He was based at the UAW’s Region 5 office near St. Louis, which was led by Jones until Jones became UAW president in 2018.

The union now is led by Rory Gamble, who has promised to reform the culture in the UAW’s top ranks. As part of that effort, a Michigan vacation home built on union property for retired President Dennis Williams is listed for sale at $1.3 million.

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Source: Associated Press – ED WHITE