Sept. 30 (UPI) — Dennis Williams, the former president of the United Auto Workers, pleaded guilty Wednesday to embezzling funds from the union.
Williams, 67, of Corona, Calif., pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to embezzle union funds, after resigning his membership on Sept. 18.
The plea comes after Williams’ successor, Gary Jones, pleaded guilty in June to embezzling more than $1.5 million in union funds along with two co-conspirators.
Williams said he suspected Jones was improperly using union funds to pay for golf trips, meals and rental stays for conferences but “deliberately looked away” after Jones twice told him “everything was above board.”
“I made a deliberate and conscious decision not to press the matter, even though I strongly suspected that if I looked into how Gary Jones was funding those expenses, I would find union funds were being misused,” he said.
An investigation into the auto industry has resulted in 15 former union and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and has resulted in the exposure of offenses such as breaking federal labor laws and receiving illegal benefits from union contractors.
Williams faces up to two years in prison for the charges, depending on his plea deal.
The UAW on Wednesday condemned Williams’ actions and said he should face consequences.
“Former UAW President Dennis Williams has pled guilty to serious infractions and in doing so put his personal and self-interest above that of our members and this Union. These serious charges deserve serious legal consequences as they violate the oath of UAW officers and they violate the trust of UAW officers to handle our members’ sacred dues money,” the union said.