Ex-UAW aide Mike Grimes forfeiting home, luxuries in guilty plea

Robert Snell
The Detroit News

Detroit — A corrupt United Auto Workers official who pocketed more than $1.5 million in bribes splurged on a new home, a pontoon boat, a Jeep, jewelry and more, federal prosecutors said Monday.

Former UAW aide Mike Grimes is losing it all as part of his conviction for his role in a bribery and kickback scheme that involved two others, including former union vice president Joe Ashton.

Grimes, 66, is being sentenced Wednesday in federal court. Prosecutors want him to spend two years in prison for receiving bribes from union contractors, including $10,000 worth of cosmetic surgery for a relative. But his lawyer said he should only spend one year and a day in federal prison because he was driven by grief, not greed.

Grief drove ex-UAW official to take bribes, lawyer says

Ahead of Grimes' sentencing, prosecutors Monday filed a list of assets being forfeited by the former UAW official that sheds light on a federal raid at his home last year.

The assets include:

• The home in Fort Myers.

• A green 2017 Jeep Wrangler.

• A 2019 Alumaweld 22-foot pontoon boat with 175-horsepower motor.

• A 2006 Lowe fish & cruise fishing boat.

• A 2002 Yamaha four-wheeler.

• A 1998 Jeep station wagon.

• U.S. Mint commemorative coin sets.

• A necklace in a Vatican Museum box.

• A silver Tiffany cross necklace.

Former United Auto Workers official Mike Grimes, right, with his lawyer, Michael Manley.

Grimes and his wife took out a $284,000 mortgage and bought the new $730,000 home in Fort Myers in early 2017.

Grimes is required to sell the Florida home and a Westgate Resorts timeshare and give the net proceeds to the government.

Grimes is among 12 people convicted of federal crimes during a years-long investigation of corruption within the UAW and auto industry. The investigation has revealed that UAW leaders embezzled money from worker paychecks, shook down union contractors and schemed with auto executives.

He pleaded guilty in September to wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering. Though sentencing guidelines call for almost five years in prison, prosecutors are recommending less time behind bars because Grimes cooperated with an ongoing investigation.

Grimes is portrayed as a vindictive shakedown artist, demanding kickbacks from UAW vendors who supplied union-branded merchandise and penalizing one UAW contractor who initially refused his demands. Once the unidentified vendor agreed to pay kickbacks, Grimes forced him to pay an extra $5,000, prosecutors said.

Along with selling the home and forfeiting the boats and jewelry, Grimes will pay $1,500 per month until he satisfies a $1.5 million judgment.


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