Fourteen people, including former UAW President Gary Jones, have been convicted of charges related to an ongoing federal corruption investigation. Criminal charges against another former UAW president, Dennis Williams, are reportedly expected tomorrow.
That scoop comes from The Detroit News, which has led the way in its coverage of the scandal. Williams has been presumed to be a target of the investigation for months if not years, especially after The Detroit News revealed last year that he was an unidentified official named in court documents.
From the DN:
Williams, 67, of Corona, Calif., is expected to be charged Thursday in a criminal information — a type of charge that indicates a guilty plea is expected, according to two people familiar with the investigation who were not authorized to speak publicly. A conviction could be used to pressure the UAW to agree to terms with the Justice Department on prolonged federal oversight aimed at eliminating corruption within the union.
Williams’ criminal defense lawyer did not respond to a message seeking comment Wednesday.
“If found to have violated his oath of office and his responsibility to oversee our members and their sacred dues money, Williams should face criminal penalty,” UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg said in a statement to The News. “Today’s development is a sad day for UAW members. But it is also a humbling day of truth and justice demonstrating that no one is above the law, regardless of their position.”
Prosecutors had agreed with Jones to recommend a sentence of 46 to 57 months in prison after pleading guilty, though that sentence could be reduced if Jones gives prosecutors substantial assistance. I would expect a similar outcome for Williams, though we likely won’t know until the charges are filed and the plea comes.
And while that was always somewhat expected the bit in there about federal oversight is what the UAW is really, really worried about going forward. Current UAW President Rory Gamble has been meeting with federal prosecutors in recent weeks as the case continues to unfold, and it is thought that UAW is desperate to avoid the kind of federal oversight that the government exerted over the Teamsters for over three decades.
But as the convictions pile up it’s hard not to think some kind of agreement between the feds and the UAW will be reached, if not full oversight. The feds have been nothing if not slow and methodical in an investigation that first came to light over three years ago.