Ex-UAW boss Gary Jones was arraigned on charges of racketeering, embezzlement and tax fraud in Detroit federal court on Thursday.
Jones was ousted from his position as UAW president amid the FBI’s corruption investigation into the labor union. Jones and a number of his cohorts are accused of using union dues to fund a lavish lifestyle that included high-priced dinners, top-shelf booze, cigars, luxury villas, golf trips and golf equipment.
Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen entered a plea of not guilty on Jones’ behalf during the online hearing Thursday. The Detroit News reports Jones was released on an unsecured $10,000 bond until his plea hearing, which is scheduled for June.
In a statement released this week, the UAW said that if he is found guilty of the charges levied against him, Jones’ actions would be “an unforgivable violation of his oath of office and an utter betrayal of the hard-working men and women who elected him.”
“Under the leadership of President Rory L. Gamble, the UAW is instituting and operating under a system of transparency that includes a comprehensive ethics program and enhanced systems of financial oversight and accountability,” the union also said.
Jones has agreed to co-operate with the FBI’s ongoing corruption investigation into the union, according to The Detroit News. Current union president Gamble is under the feds’ microscope as well, along with former UAW president Dennis Williams and retired Vice President Jimmy Settles. Among the investigations still being conducted by the FBI is a probe pertaining to “strip club payoffs in exchange for contracts to supply union branded merchandise,” the newspaper also said.
In a statement released last year, General Motors said it is “outraged and deeply concerned by the conduct of union officials as uncovered by the government’s investigation,” and stated the allegations “represent a stunning abuse of power and trust.” GM lost billions last year as a result of a lengthy 40-day strike led by the UAW under Jones’ leadership.