Buy the scandal-plagued UAW lakefront home for $1.3 million

Robert Snell
The Detroit News

The United Auto Workers on Tuesday listed for sale a lakefront home built for former President Dennis Williams that is at the center of an ongoing federal corruption investigation.

The price tag: $1.299 million.

The United Auto Workers used nonunion labor to build this lakefront home for retired President Dennis Williams at the union's 1,000-acre retreat in Onaway.

The listing of the Black Lake property in Onaway comes four months after the UAW announced it would sell the new home as part of a broad series of reforms aimed at repairing the union's reputation and avoiding a federal takeover of the scandal-plagued union. U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider has criticized the union's lack of cooperation with the corruption investigation, disclosed that a four-year investigation is perhaps only halfway completed, and said he was unimpressed with the reform efforts while securing 13 convictions of labor leaders and auto executives.

The Dennis Williams home is on the edge of Black Lake at the UAW retreat in Onaway.

New UAW President Rory Gamble announced in November that the home would be sold, an announcement that came five weeks after The Detroit News reported that federal agents were investigating whether Detroit automakers indirectly paid to build the lakefront home for Williams at the union's northern Michigan compound on Black Lake. 

The home became a symbol of corruption within the union and a source of disgust among rank-and-file after The News reported about the construction project and revealed it was built with non-union labor.

The real estate listing Tuesday for the three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath, 1,907-square-foot home on seven acres features what appear to be drone shots of the snow-covered property. The design plan includes granite counters, stainless-steel appliances, a wood-burning fireplace, a wine cooler, a patio and a storage room hidden behind a hinged bookshelf door, according to blueprints obtained by The News.

The property also includes 750-feet of shoreline visible through a wall of windows overlooking Black Lake.

Federal agents searched the home Aug. 28 as part of a series of nationwide raids. A team of investigators from the FBI, Internal Revenue Service and Labor Department also searched Williams' home near Los Angeles and former President Gary Jones' home in Canton Township.

The government is trying to determine whether money from General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV was funneled through jointly operated training centers to pay for perks for UAW leaders at the 1,000-acre Black Lake retreat either with or without the consent of auto executives.

The UAW used its own money to pay for the Williams home and renovate an adjacent cottage used by the retired president, union spokesman Brian Rothenberg told The News. The expenses were part of a $10 million Black Lake renovation project approved by the UAW's governing board approximately four years ago, he said.

The UAW used nonunion labor to build the home for Williams after the union solicited bids that showed the project would cost more than $1.3 million.

Twitter: @RobertSnellnews