Federal agents executed a search warrant Wednesday at the home of United Auto Workers president Gary Jones, ramping up the Justice Department’s investigation of alleged corruption among union brass.
Agents from the FBI and IRS searched Jones’s Detroit home as well as the California home of the union’s previous president, Dennis Williams, and the union’s golf resort, conference center, and training center in Michigan, the FBI said Wednesday.
In a statement, the UAW objected to the use of search warrants against Jones, saying the union has cooperated fully with the investigation.
“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, and most importantly, when wrongdoing has been discovered, we have taken strong action to address it,” the union said.
The union, which represents 158,000 workers, is currently renegotiating labor deals with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, General Motors, and Ford Motor Company that are set to expire September 14.
Jones is the highest-ranking UAW official to find himself in the crosshairs of the probe, which over more than two years has sought to ascertain the truth of accusations of bribes, kickbacks, and other financial misbehavior, resulting in charges against nine people and several prison sentences for top officials involved in labor negotiations.
Norwood Jewell, a former top UAW official who was in charge of the union’s negotiations with Fiat Chrysler, received a 15-month prison sentence earlier this month for accepting illegal payments from the automaker.
Last year, Fiat Chrysler’s former head of labor relations, Alphons Iacobelli, was sentenced to five and a half years behind bars for making illegal payments to union officials as well as filing a false tax return that left out $840,000 he illegally appropriated from the company.