Another Former UAW Official Pleads Guilty in Bribery Scheme

King follows Durden's lead and pleads guilty.

by on Aug.31, 2017

Former UAW official Virdell King pleaded guilty to illegally accepting money and gifts from Fiat Chrysler.

The former assistant director of the United Auto Workers’ Chrysler Department, Virdell King, pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy charges stemming from her role in the massive bribery scheme that has engulfed Fiat Chrysler and the UAW.

King served as the chief lieutenant for UAW vice president General Holiefield. She was implicated to a scheme that centered on Holiefield and siphoned off millions of dollars in training funds into the pockets of select union and company officials. Holiefield died in 2015 and King is the most senior union official for far indicted in the federal probe.

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She faces potential jail time ranging from 16 month five years. Her sentence will be handed down in early January.

According to indictments filed by federal prosecutors, Fiat Chrysler Vice President and chief labor negotiator Alphons Iacobelli paid UAW officials $4.5 million in bribes to take “company friendly positions.” The money was funneled through the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center in Detroit to Holiefield and his wife, Monica Morgan.

(Former UAW official King indicted in bribery probe. For the story, Click Here.)

UAW officials were encouraged to use the credit cards liberally in order to keep them “fat, dumb and happy,” in the words of in the words of FCA Financial Analyst Jerome Durden who pleaded guilty to two felony counts last month on charges that he also siphoned money from the training funds.

Holiefield was in charge of labor negotiations with Chrysler during a contentious part of the company’s history, starting in 2007 as well as contract talks in 2009 and 2011 that followed the federal bailout and transfer of the company’s control after bankruptcy to Fiat.

(Click Here for details about Durden’s guilty plea.)

During Holiefield’s tenure, the UAW agreed to a series of concessions, including halving the wages of new hires, imposing a mandatory 10-hour workday on auto workers and relieving the auto companies of their obligation to pay retiree healthcare benefits.

Between 2012 and 2015, the plea agreement states, King used the training center’s credit cards to make more than $40,000 in purchases for personal items for UAW officials and herself. The purchases included designer clothing, jewels, golf equipment, luggage, and concert and theme park tickets.

(For our initial report on the indictments, Click Here.)

King, who was paid $128,930 as a UAW “Associate Director” in 2015 before retiring in February 2016, also used the credit card to buy a $2,180 shotgun as a birthday present for UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell. Jewell has since said that he did not know the gift was purchased with stolen money and voluntarily repaid the funds.

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