GM suspends exec charged in FCA-UAW scandal
General Motors Co. has suspended a top labor executive charged in a $4.5 million-plus corruption scandal tied to his tenure at rival Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, sources told The Detroit News on Tuesday.
Alphons Iacobelli was suspended within a day of being indicted by a federal grand jury July 26 and accused of spending more than $1 million in UAW-Chrysler National Training Center funds on luxury items while working as an FCA labor negotiator, according to two sources familiar with his employment. The luxury items included $375,000 in home improvements for a pool, outdoor kitchen and spa at his home and landscaping; a $350,000-plus Ferrari 458 Spider; and two limited-edition, solid-gold Mont Blanc fountain pens that cost $37,500 each.
Iacobelli was a labor negotiator at FCA but abruptly retired in June 2015 a month before negotiations with the UAW were to begin and amid an FBI investigation. Fiat Chrysler last month said they fired Iacobelli after they learned of the issues in June 2015 and investigated.
Seven months later, Iacobelli was hired by GM as executive director of labor relations and was highly involved in negotiations for GM last summer with the Canadian auto workers union, Unifor.
Iacobelli’s job status has remained a mystery since prosecutors unsealed the grand jury indictment. GM has refused to comment about Iacobelli’s employment status and on Tuesday again declined to comment.
It remained unclear Tuesday whether Iacobelli had been suspended with pay.
Iacobelli, 57, of Rochester Hills, was indicted alongside Monica Morgan-Holiefield, widow of former-United Auto Workers Vice President General Holiefield, and accused of conspiring in a scheme that siphoned millions of dollars in UAW-Chrysler National Training Center funds earmarked for blue-collar workers.
Iacobelli and Morgan-Holiefield are charged with criminal violations of the Labor Management Relations Act, which prohibits employers or those working for them from paying, lending or delivering money or other valuables to officers or employees of labor organizations — and from labor leaders from accepting such items.
Prosecutors also say Morgan-Holiefield, 54, and her late husband received more than $1.2 million in illegal payments. They spent the money on jewelry, on furniture and paying off the $262,219 mortgage on their Harrison Township home, prosecutors allege.
If convicted of crimes that could send them to federal prison for up to five years, Iacobelli and Morgan-Holiefield risk losing their homes to the government. A trial date for the two has been scheduled for Sept. 25.
Iacobelli’s lawyer David DuMouchel wrote in an email to The News that he was unaware of his client’s job status.