Former UAW President Dennis Williams pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to embezzle union funds, making him the 15th person convicted in the ongoing corruption investigation and the second former UAW president. This was a long time coming.
The Detroit News’s Robert Snell has led the way with coverage of the corruption investigation and today was no different. Snell was there for the court proceeding, in which Williams partially blamed former UAW President Gary Jones, who pleaded guilty in June.
From Snell and Breana Noble’s report in the The Detroit News:
During a long speech, Williams blamed Jones for covering up the spending of more than $1 million in union funds on luxury items during UAW junkets in Palm Springs, California. Those items included private villas for months at a time, cigars, liquor and golf.
“I knew in many cases such as golf and cigars, that there was no good-faith basis to think these expenses were for the benefit of our union,” Williams said while reading from a statement.
Williams said he asked Jones about the expenses.
“He simply told me everything was above board,” Williams said.
“I made a deliberate and conscious decision not to press the matter, even though I strongly suspected that if I looked into how Gary Jones was funding those expenses, I would find union funds were being misused.
“I deliberately looked away,” he added.
Jones is scheduled to be sentenced on January 25, when he faces up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines, though Snell says it’ll more likely be up to two years.
The feds are still talking about a takeover of the UAW, and at this point, it’s hard to blame them if they do. Williams’s guilty plea happened just over a year after his house was raided at gunpoint; the investigation, this week, remains ongoing, according to the DN. You can read Dennis Williams’ full plea agreement below: