UAW to stop paying ex-President Dennis Williams’ legal fees
DETROIT — The UAW said Friday that its International Executive Board voted unanimously to stop paying legal fees for ex-President Dennis Williams related to the federal government’s corruption probe.
As part of a longstanding practice, the union had been paying for Williams’ attorney fees “under the express condition and representation by Mr. Williams that he had not engaged in any illegal conduct.”
While Williams has not been charged with a crime, the union board voted Tuesday “to terminate any and all further payment of his attorney’s fees related to the government’s investigation, effective immediately.” The union did not say what led the board to take such action.
Williams this year paid back more than $50,000 in travel expenses deemed to be inappropriately charged to the UAW.
He reportedly has been implicated in a corruption yearslong probe that so far has resulted in 14 guilty pleas from former union officials as well as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles executives. They include former UAW President Gary Jones, who succeeded Williams. Jones awaits sentencing and has agreed to aid prosecutors in the ongoing case.
Federal officials last year raided the homes of Jones, Williams and other UAW officials. Court documents say Jones and others, including “the UAW Official B” — who The Detroit News has reported is Williams — spent hundreds of thousands of member dollars on trips to Palm Springs, Calif., golf outings, fancy dinners and other luxuries.
Rory Gamble, the UAW President has been taking steps to clean up the union from within and avoid a potential federal takeover. Gamble last month met with U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider and discussed a number of potential next steps, including possibly having an “independent monitor” ensure progress is made on reform efforts.