FBI and IRS agents carried out raids in at least four states, including at the homes of United Auto Workers President Gary Jones in Michigan and California home of former President Dennis Williams in California, amid allegations of corruption within the union.
Investigators are probing into bribes, kickbacks and attempts by auto executives to influence labor negotiations with the UAW, a person with knowledge about the raids told DailyMail.com.
Nine people currently face charges because of the investigation and another eight are already serving time in prison linked to a scandal that alleged Fiat Chrysler Automobiles wined and dined labor officials and lavished them with gifts, including $1,000 French shoes, in exchange for concessions in a union labor pact.
In the raids staged on Wednesday, federal agents armed with search warrants showed up at Jones’ home in Canton, a suburb of Detroit, and Williams’ home in Corona, California, the person said
Investigators leaving Jones’ home in Croton, Michigan, after it was raided Wednesday
FBI and IRS agents, in a growing investigation of the US auto industry, carried out raids across ‘multiple’ states, including at the homes of United Auto Workers President Gary Jones in Michigan (above)
In St. Louis, Missouri, investigators showed up at the UAW Region 5 office, where Jones (above) previously served as regional director before he was elected president in 2018
Williams’ home, which is about 50 miles outside of Los Angeles, was purchased in January for $610,000, according to property records, reports the Detroit News.
The investigation implicated Williams last year, after a former labor official came forward alleging that Williams arranged to have funds from Detroit’s ‘Big 3’ automakers — General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler — funneled through training centers, to cover union travel, meal and entertainment expenses.
Another target of the raids was the UAW Black Lake Conference Center in Onaway, Michigan.
The union has been building a retirement home for Williams on the 1000-acre retreat facility, which was paid for with interest from a $721 million ‘strike fund’ mostly made up of workers dues, according to the News.
The investigation implicated Williams last year, after a former labor official came forward alleging that the former president arranged to have funds from Detroit’s ‘Big 3’ automakers funneled through training centers, to cover union travel, meal and entertainment expenses
Former President Dennis Williams’ home in Corona, California (above) also was targeted in Wednesday’s raids
In Hazelwood, Missouri, investigators showed up at the UAW Region 5 office, where Jones previously served as regional director before he was elected president in 2018.
The office had been the registered address for Jones’ nonprofit charity, 5 Game Changers, the News reports.
The probe is looking into whether UAW leaders profited from contributions to their personal nonprofits
Raids were staged in at least a fourth state, according to the News.
FBI Mara Schneider confirmed to DailyMail.com that raids took place across ‘multiple locations’ across the US, including in Michigan, but declined to provide more details.
The UAW responded to the raids on Wednesday saying that there ‘was absolutely no need for search warrants to be used by the government,’
Another target of the raids was the UAW Black Lake Conference Center in Onaway, Michigan
In Hazelwood, Missouri, investigators showed up at the UAW Region 5 office, where Jones previously served as regional director before he was elected president in 2018
‘The UAW has voluntarily responded to every request the government has made throughout the course of its investigation, produced literally hundreds of thousands of documents and other materials to the government,’ the union said in a statement on its website.
The union added that ‘most importantly, when wrongdoing has been discovered, we have taken strong action to address it. The UAW will continue to cooperate with the government in its investigation, as we have been doing throughout.’
The raids could impact the union as it returns to the negotiation table in September.
‘Trust in UAW leadership is never more important than during the bargaining process,’ the union assured in its statement.
‘When profit-laden auto companies stand to benefit from media leaks, false assumptions, and political grandstanding. The sole focus of President Jones and his team will be winning at the bargaining table for our members.’