GM sued Fiat Chrysler in November alleging corrupt union bargaining, and the suit just kind of lingered until a judge got really mad about it in June, before dismissing it altogether last month. Now GM says it has new evidence, and says it thinks FCA likely had a paid mole in GM’s board room.
The lawsuit hinges on the fact that FCA’s labor costs went down a lot after the 2015 contract negotiations with the UAW, while GM’s only went down a little. GM says that that’s because of FCA schemes to give FCA a competitive advantage while also trying to force a merger, with the company previously saying that late FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne was a big player behind it. Here’s a chart from the legal papers filed today:
And while that was GM’s contention when the lawsuit was filed, GM pointed to new evidence it had recently gathered in asking U.S. District Judge Paul Borman to reinstate the suit Monday.
The new evidence is ... big if true, on paper at least. From GM’s court filing on Monday:
This newly discovered evidence gives rise to a far-more-than-plausible inference that [former UAW Vice President Joe Ashton] operated as a paid mole inside GM’s Boardroom during 2015 collective bargaining negotiations and FCA NV’s merger effort from his position as the UAW Trust nominee to GM’s Board, providing Defendants confidential details about GM’s labor strategy and analysis of a potential merger so Defendants could not only cause but maximize the harm to GM.
On information and belief, Ashton not only protected high-level FCA and FCA NV executives but also fed FCA and FCA NV confidential information related to the collective bargaining process in order to weaken GM.
These newly discovered and pled facts also shed new light on the relationship between former UAW President Dennis Williams and Ashton. GM always knew that Williams handpicked Ashton to serve on GM’s Board. But newly discovered and alleged facts make clear that the FCA Defendants likely provided funds to both Ashton and Williams via foreign accounts in furtherance of Defendants’ RICO activities.
There were also, GM says, overseas bank accounts.
Upon information and belief, FCA and FCA NV rewarded Williams with significant funds placed in bank accounts in Switzerland and Liechtenstein in exchange for intentionally infiltrating GM, both to impose asymmetrical costs on GM through the 2015 collective bargaining agreement and to pressure GM to merge with FCA NV. Based on the revelation that Williams was secretly compensated for participating in the scheme, GM’s FAC adds Williams as a Defendant.
Upon information and belief, FCA and FCA NV secretly provided [former GM and FCA employee Alphons Iacobelli] and a family member with millions of dollars through funds currently in accounts in Italy, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and Singapore not only for his central and long-running role in the scheme, but also for protecting high-level FCA and FCA NV executives, which he did even after he signed up to cooperate with the criminal investigation and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Labor Management Relations Act and filing a false tax return.
As alleged based on reasonable inference, Iacobelli curtailed his criminal plea to ensure that the true scope of the conspiracy was not revealed, which included the plan by FCA NV to use its control of the UAW to directly target and harm GM and its use of foreign bank accounts as bribes.
Reuters obtained this statement from FCA:
“FCA will continue to defend itself vigorously and pursue all available remedies in response to GM’s attempts to resurrect this groundless lawsuit,” FCA said in a statement.
While the UAW had this to say:
“The UAW is unaware of any allegations regarding illicit off-shore accounts as claimed,” by GM, the UAW said in a statement. “If GM actually has substantive information supporting its allegations, we ask that they provide it to us so we can take all appropriate actions.”
Williams has not been charged in the investigation, while Ashton was convicted in December of criminal charges and is awaiting sentencing. Iacobelli is one of 13 other people convicted in the ongoing federal investigation into the UAW, and is now serving a five-and-a-half year sentence at a prison in West Virginia.
You can read GM’s new filing below. Borman ordered the defendants to respond by August 10.