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Former Union Official Pleads Guilty in Probe of Fiat Chrysler

Aug. 30, 2017
A fourth person charged in a multi-year conspiracy in which union officials accepted money and "things of value" from Fiat Chrysler's American subsidiar.

A former United Auto Workers senior official pleaded guilty on August 29 in federal court for her role in an alleged scheme to raid funds meant for worker training.

Virdell King, who retired from the UAW in 2016, was the fourth person charged in a multi-year conspiracy in which union officials accepted money and "things of value" from Fiat Chrysler's American subsidiary, according to a Justice Department statement.

The 65-year-old was responsible for negotiating and administering collective bargaining agreements between the union and FCA, and took part in contract talks in 2011 and 2015.

King allegedly used a credit card tied to a worker's training center to pay for a variety of goods for herself and others at UAW -- including designer clothes and shoes, golf equipment and concert tickets.

Prosecutors have publicly accused four people in the alleged scheme, and court documents indicate at least four others at FCA US and UAW may be implicated.

In all, officials said more than $4.5 million in worker training funds were diverted over a five-year period ending in 2014.

Detroit's chief FBI agent said the group was involved in years of fraud and corruption.

The latest guilty plea "is another step towards ending a culture of corruption between some leaders at the UAW and FCA responsible for collective bargaining agreements," the FBI's David Gelios said.

Former FCA financial analyst Jerome Durden earlier reached a plea deal, admitting that he and others concealed gifts and payments to former UAW vice president General Holiefield, who died in 2015, and other UAW officials, according to court filings.

A Detroit grand jury in July indicted former FCA US executive Alphons Iacobelli, who was in charge of negotiating and administering collective bargaining agreements, and Holiefield's widow Monica Morgan.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2017

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