Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Former United Auto Workers union president charged with embezzling union money

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A former president of the United Auto Workers union was charged with corruption Thursday, accused of conspiring with his successor and others to embezzle money for golf, vacation villas and fine dining.

Dennis Williams is the 15th person to be charged in an investigation of corruption in the senior ranks of the venerable labor union.

Williams of Corona, California, retired as UAW president in 2018, handing the reins to Gary Jones, who was promoted to the top job from the union’s St. Louis-area regional office.

The charge against Williams was filed in Detroit federal court as a criminal information, which means a guilty plea is likely. Jones pleaded guilty in June.

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A message seeking comment was left for Williams’ attorney.

The allegations against Williams mirror the case against Jones: a brazen scheme to use member dues for villas in Palm Springs, California, boozy meals, premium cigars and golf.

“The UAW’s members deserve leaders dedicated to serving the members and their families, not serving themselves,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said.

The UAW recently said Williams repaid $55,000 in inappropriate travel expenses. Separately, the union is selling a lakefront house built for Williams at a union conference center in northern Michigan.

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