Former UAW offical charged with accepting thousands of dollars from FCA

Posted at 3:35 PM, Aug 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-18 16:07:53-04

A superseding information was filed against the former assistant director of the UAW Chrysler Department, charging her with taking part in a multiyear conspiracy for UAW officials to accept money and valuable items from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles between 2011 and 2015.

Virdell King, 65, has been charged with accepting thousands of dollars in designer shoes, clothing, jewelry, luggage and other personal items, which were purchased using credit cards issued through the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center.

According to court documents, FCA Vice President Alphons Iacobelli told senior UAW officials that they could use their NTC credit cards to make personal purchases, saying "if you see something you want, feel free to buy it."

King was one of the senior UAW officials responsible for negotiating and administering the national collective bargaining agreements with FCA on behalf of tens of thousands of UAW members.

In addition to her personal purchases, the superseding information also charged King with making over $40,000 of additional purchases between December 2012 and August 2015 at the direction and for the benefit of other senior UAW officials.

These additional purchases include a shotgun, golf equipment, luggage, concert tickets, theme park tickets and other personal items. All purchases were paid for with funds provided by FCA.

“This alleged conspiracy among several union and corporate officials to abuse their positions for personal gains at the expense of hard-working Chrysler employees is highly alarming,” said Ian Burg, director of the Office of Labor-Management Standards."

"OLMS remains committed to fulfilling its mission of protecting the rights of union members and maintains a zero tolerance policy regarding financial misconduct by union officials. OLMS will continue to partner with other law enforcement agencies to investigate allegations of corruption by union officials whose members have placed their work lives in their trust," he said.

"Years of fraud and corruption within a select group of the FCA and UAW hierarchy continue to be eroded through the diligence and collaboration of law enforcement in the Detroit metropolitan area," said David P. Gelios, Special Agent in Charge, Detroit Division of the FBI.

"The superseding information against Virdell King highlights the FBI's commitment to end the abusive practice of using union training finances for personal gain. As evidenced, these efforts make it far more likely that leaders in the labor union movement who illegally profit at the expense of their membership will be held to account for their crimes." 

An information is only a charging document and is not an evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.