Ex-Fiat Chrysler Executive Charged In $1.2M UAW Official Payoff

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A former Fiat Chrysler labor executive was charged Wednesday with giving $1.2 million in various gifts to a United Automobile Workers vice president, his wife and other senior union managers.

Alphons “Al” Iacobelli was indicted in an alleged conspiracy involving UAW vice president General Holiefield and Holiefield’s wife, Monica Morgan. Holiefield died in 2015.

The indictment describes a years-long scheme to reward Holiefield and Morgan with travel, designer clothing, furniture and jewelry. A $262,000 mortgage on their Harrison Township home was paid off, according to the grand jury, and Morgan got a new Farrari.

[View a copy of the indictment]

“Today’s indictment exposes a disturbing criminal collaboration that was ongoing for years between high ranking officials of FCA and the UAW,”said David Gelios, Special Agent in Charge, Detroit Division of the FBI, in a media release.

“The funds misapplied deprived working men and women of critical workforce and professional development opportunities and calls into question the integrity of contracts negotiated during the course of this criminal conspiracy. The FBI and our federal partners will remain vigilant in our efforts to expose those who participate in corrupt fraud schemes which jeopardize our region’s economic vitality and our faith in honest business practices.”

In June 2015, Iacobelli suddenly retired from Fiat Chrysler with little explanation. He was the company’s North American labor relations chief and head of Mexico human resources. Holiefield was responsible for negotiating with Fiat Chrysler on behalf of the United Auto Workers.

The allegations call “into question the integrity of contracts negotiated during the course of this criminal conspiracy,” Gelios said.

Morgan and Iacobelli are charged with conspiracy and tax crimes. Iacobelli is also charged with making illegal payments to a union official.

Morgan’s lawyer, Steve Fishman, declined to comment. A message seeking comment was left for Iacobelli’s lawyer, David DuMouchel. There was no immediate comment from Fiat Chrysler or the UAW.

The government said the money came from the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center in Detroit, which was created to educate and retrain auto workers.

“Today’s indictment alleges an outrageous abuse of power and misuse of this Chrysler executive’s position of trust. The diverted funds from the NTC could have and should have been used to benefit Chrysler employees,” said Special Agent in Charge Manny Muriel. “IRS Criminal Investigation and our law enforcement partners are particularly committed to stopping those individuals who use double fraud schemes to defraud corporate funds, bribe others for their own gains and cushion their personal wallets.”

Holiefield began his career in 1973 as a Chrysler factory worker in Detroit. He became a UAW vice president in 2006 and was re-elected in 2010. “My goal has always been to lift people out of poverty and to give them a better standard of living,” Holiefield said in 2013.

Holiefield took a leave of absence in 2014 after he was charged with accidentally shooting his wife while cleaning a handgun at his home. He pleaded no contest to reckless use of a firearm.

Holiefield soon retired from the union. Less than a year later, in March 2015, he died of pancreatic cancer at age 61.

© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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