Feds raided UAW leader’s house amid corruption probe

Robert Snell
The Detroit News

Detroit — Federal prosecutors revealed Thursday that investigators raided the home of United Auto Workers Vice President Norwood Jewell while investigating a widespread conspiracy involving Fiat Chrysler and the union.

The raid happened Nov. 3 at a home on the 2200 block of Macscott Court in Swartz Creek, according to a sealed federal court filing. It is unclear exactly what was seized during the search but is another indication linking Jewell to the ongoing corruption investigation that has netted charges against seven people.

Jewell, 60, the former head of the union’s Fiat Chrysler department, has not been charged with a crime but his name has repeatedly surfaced during an investigation focused on a conspiracy involving Fiat Chrysler executives funneling illegal payments and benefits to UAW leaders. The money is funneled through the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center under a policy created by the auto company’s officials to keep UAW leaders “fat, dumb and happy” and wring concessions favoring the automaker, according to the government.

In August 2014, Fiat Chrysler executive Alphons Iacobelli approved spending more than $30,000 in worker training funds on a party for Jewell, a bash that included “ultra-premium” liquor and strolling models who lit labor leaders’ cigars. The expenses were paid for by the national training center with Fiat Chrysler funds, which covered the $7,000 cigar purchase and a $3,000 tab for wine bottles with custom labels that featured Jewell’s name, sources told The News.

The News first reported that Jewell also received a $2,180 shotgun in 2015 paid for with money that was supposed to benefit blue-collar UAW workers. Jewell, whose compensation totaled $224,173 last year, reimbursed the training center in 2016 after learning the shotgun was purchased with a training center credit card.

Jewell’s criminal defense lawyer, Joseph Duffy, did not respond to a message seeking comment Thursday.

The Nov. 3 raid at Jewell’s home came four weeks before the UAW, in a surprise move, announced that Jewell would retire Jan. 1, roughly six months before his current term was scheduled to end.

Prosecutors revealed the raid in a separate federal court filing Thursday that outlined protections against disclosing tax records and other materials seized during a series of searches. The filing reiterated that federal agents also searched the homes of Iacobelli and Monica Morgan-Holiefield, widow of former UAW Vice President General Holiefield.

Iacobelli and Morgan-Holiefield have pleaded guilty to crimes related to the conspiracy and are awaiting sentencing in federal court.

Materials seized during the searches include documents containing social security numbers, tax identification numbers, dates of birth, financial accounts, home addresses and other personal identification information, according to the filing.

The search at Jewell’s home was revealed in a document filed in the case against his former top administrative assistant, Nancy Adams Johnson.

Johnson, 57, of Macomb Township was indicted last month and accused of conspiring with other union and Fiat Chrysler officials to corrupt the labor negotiation process. She received tens of thousands of dollars in illegal payments and benefits from Fiat Chrysler during the alleged conspiracy, including $1,100 designer shoes, first-class flights to California, resort stays, limousine rides and a $6,912 dinner at famed Detroit restaurant London Chop House, according to federal prosecutors.


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