Feds pick UAW adjudications officer to hear misconduct allegations
Federal prosecutors asked a judge on Wednesday to appoint a veteran lawyer and former prosecutor to hear allegations of misconduct against United Auto Workers officials.
The U.S. government is proposing Gil Soffer, a partner at Chicago law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, as the union's adjudications officer. The Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission previously appointed Soffer in 2017 as the global corporate compliance monitor for Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd. in one of the largest settlements ever under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
The adjudications officer is a role identified in the consent decree the UAW reached with the federal government following a years-long corruption probe into the Detroit-based union that resulted in the convictions of 15 people, including two former UAW presidents.
But there are possibly more officials involved in misconduct who will not face criminal charges, Acting U.S. Attorney Saima Mohsin told The Detroit News last week. As adjudications officer, Soffer will be the judge and fact finder for such cases identified by the UAW monitor, New York attorney Neil Barofsky. Should Soffer determine misconduct took place, he will determine punishment, including expulsion from the union or termination of employment.
The UAW interviewed three candidates for the adjudications officer position, and the government, which had veto power, chose from those selections. The selection is subject to approval by the U.S. District Court.
"The UAW worked with the Government on appointment of the Adjudications Officer through the process outlined in the Consent Decree, including proposing three highly qualified candidates from which the Government selected Mr. Soffer," UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg said in a statement.
At Katten's Chicago office, Soffer is managing partner and co-chair of its national litigation department. Prior to those roles, he was an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Illinois. Later, at the Justice Department in Washington, he was counsel to the deputy attorney general and then associate deputy attorney general until 2009. In that role, he was the principal drafter of the department's corporate monitor principles and managed the president's Corporate Fraud Task Force.