How a decade of corruption unfolded at the UAW

Starting when Chrysler exited bankruptcy in 2009, a timeline of how a decade of corruption ultimately unfolded at the UAW

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June 10, 2009: Chrysler exits bankruptcy, forms alliance with Fiat SpA that is initially backed by U.S. government.

UAW-Chrysler National Training Center
Sarah Rahal

2009-14: Fiat Chrysler provides the United Auto Workers National Training Center with annual transfers between $13 million and $31 million per year. FCA Vice President Alphons Iacobelli controls finances, spending at the training center.

The late General Holiefield, former UAW vice president, left, and Al Iacobelli, vice president of Chrysler, appear at the 43rd annual Image Awards. Iacobelli and Holiefield's wife, Monica Morgan, have been charged with criminal violations of the Labor Management Relations Act.
Detroit News file

July 2009: Iacobelli and others begin transferring tens of thousands of dollars from the training center account to The Leave the Light on Foundation, UAW Vice President General Holiefield’s charity.

Monica Morgan-Holiefield, widow of former UAW VP General Holiefield.
Todd McInturf, The Detroit News

2009-15: More than $1.2 million in funds from the charity are used to pay Holiefield, his wife, Monica Morgan-Holiefield, and other UAW officials. Iacobelli gives Holiefield and other UAW officials credit cards in the name of the training center, paid for by FCA. Iacobelli ultimately admitted to paying more than $1.5 million to UAW officers and employees through the training center to sway union negotiations.

This Terra Cielo Mare watch given to former UAW official General Holiefield was worth several thousand dollars and included the Fiat logo.

Feb. 2010: Former CEO of Fiat Chrysler, Sergio Marchionne, gives Holiefield an expensive Italian watch, but fails to disclose the gift.

Alphons Iacobelli’s home in Rochester Hills

Oct. 2011: Iacobelli, FCA financial analyst Jerome Durden and others begin to transfer more than $1 million to pay for Iacobelli’s credit cards, solid gold Montblanc fountain pens, a swimming pool, outdoor kitchen and spa at Iacobelli’s Rochester Hills home, as well as more than $350,000 to buy a 2013 Ferrari 458 Spider.

Former UAW Vice President Joe Ashton
General Motors Co.

Sept. 2012: Joe Ashton, then a UAW regional director in Atlantic City, is involved in an intensifying kickback scheme. Ashton conspired with top aide Jeff Pietrzyk and senior UAW officer Michael Grimes to demand bribes and kickbacks from training center contractors.

June 2014: Ashton is elected to a seat on General Motors Co.’s board of directors to represent the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust.

The home of Monica Morgan-Holiefield.

June 2014: Iacobelli and Durden issue a $262,219.71 training center check to pay off mortgage on Harrison Township home of Holiefield and Morgan.

The United Auto Workers Local 174 sign is shown outside their building in Romulus.
Paul Sancya, AP

June 3, 2014: UAW members vote to increase dues for the first time since 1967.

FCA's Auburn Hills headquarters.
Daniel Mears, Detroit News

October 2014: Fiat SpA merges with Chrysler to create Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV

General Motors CEO Mary Barra shakes hands with UAW President Gary Jones at the start of negotiations on July 16, 2019.
Max Ortiz, The Detroit News

December 2014-2018: Gary Jones, then director of the UAW’s largest geographic region, begins hosting annual regional conventions in Palm Springs, until 2018. Jones and others allegedly embezzled more than $1.5 million in union funds spent in Palm Springs.

March 9, 2015: GM CEO Mary Barra receives email from Marchionne proposing a merger.

Alphons Iacobelli
Paul Sancya, AP

June 9, 2015: Iacobelli retires from his position as FCA's chief labor negotiator, effective immediately, roughly one month before 2015 contract negotiations begin.

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, left, and UAW President Dennis Williams embraced at the start of contract talks in 2015. GM charges that Marchionne orchestrated a bribery conspiracy to corrupt three rounds of bargaining with the UAW in an effort to harm and take over Detroit's biggest automaker.
Max Ortiz, The Detroit News

June 18, 2015: Then UAW President Dennis Williams tells GM's Mary Barra and three other executives he would support a merger between FCA and GM. 

July 2015: Senior UAW leaders launch the 2015 contract negotiations with an $8,000 meal at a Detroit steakhouse, paid for by Fiat Chrysler.

United States District Court -Eastern District of Michigan
Clarence Tabb, Jr., The Detroit News

Summer 2017: Unsealed federal indictments accuse Iacobelli, Morgan-Holiefield, Holiefield and Durden of a years-long conspiracy. By August, Durden pleads guilty.

Fall 2017: Federal investigators expand their corruption investigation to include Ashton and the UAW training centers funded by all three Detroit automakers.

Dec. 13, 2017: Ashton resigns from GM's board.

June 12, 2018: UAW votes to potentially lower dues, increase president’s pay.

June 14, 2018: Jones is elected president of the UAW.

July 13, 2018: Morgan-Holiefield is sentenced to 18 months in federal prison. She is the first person sentenced in the scandal.

Aug. 27, 2018: Iacobelli is sentenced to 5 ½ years in federal prison.

Nov. 8, 2018: Durden is sentenced to 15 months in federal prison along with Michael Brown, a former FCA executive, and Keith Mickens, a UAW official. Both are sentenced to a year and a day in prison.

Dec. 18, 2018: Nancy Adams-Johnson, formerly a high-ranking UAW official, receives a one-year and one-day federal prison sentence for accepting illegal payments from FCA.

Aug. 5, 2019: Former UAW vice president Norwood Jewell is sentenced to 15 months in federal prison.

Aug. 9, 2019: Virdell King, a former UAW official who pocketed as much as $15,000 in bribes from FCA executives is spared a prison sentence because she and other former UAW and FCA officials continued to cooperate.

Sept. 4, 2019: Grimes pleads guilty in the federal courtroom on charges of wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering. 

Sept. 12, 2019: The Detroit News reports that Jones and Williams are unnamed union officials accused in a federal criminal case of helping orchestrate a years-long conspiracy that involved embezzling member dues. 

Oct. 22, 2019: Ashton's former top aide, Jeff Pietrzyk, pleads guilty to his role in a conspiracy involving Ashton and Grimes and admitted receiving kickbacks and bribes from UAW vendors.

Automotive contract negotiations between the United Auto Workers and Ford Motor Co. begin Monday, July 15, 2019, at Ford's world headquarters in Dearborn.
Daniel Mears, The Detroit News

Fall 2019: All three Detroit automakers move during 2019 UAW contract negotiations to restructure corporate-funded training centers.

Embattled UAW President Gary Jones is on a a paid leave of absence after being implicated in a federal corruption probe that has produced charges against 13 individuals and netted 10 convictions.
Todd McInturf, The Detroit News

November 2019: Jones steps down as UAW president, resigns union membership. Vice President Rory Gamble replaces him.

Sergio Marchionne
Kevin Hagen, Getty Images

Nov. 20, 2019: GM sues FCA, stating late CEO Sergio Marchionne orchestrated a multimillion-dollar racketeering conspiracy — including bribes — that corrupted three rounds of bargaining with the UAW, financially weakened GM in bid to force merger.

Vance Pearson is seen leaving federal court Tuesday in downtown Detroit.
Robert Snell, The Detroit News

Nov. 26, 2019: Vance Pearson, two days after resigning as director of the UAW's Region 5, appears in federal court in Detroit. 

Dec. 4, 2019: Former UAW Vice President Ashton pleads guilty to wire fraud, money laundering.

Rory Gamble
Todd McInturf, The Detroit News

Dec. 5, 2019: Rory Gamble is elected UAW president, vows to reform union.

Dec. 6, 2019: UAW announces plans to disband its 17-state Region 5.

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