Former United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams has become the latest high-ranking former UAW member to be brought down in the FBI’s ongoing corruption investigation into the labor union.
According to The Detroit Free Press, Williams has been charged with conspiracy to embezzle union funds. Prosecutors say Williams was a co-conspirator of Gary Jones and misappropriated union funds to pay for luxury goods.
“While he was an officer of the UAW between 2013 and 2018, Dennis Williams accepted housing for himself in Palm Springs, California, housing for his friends in Palm Springs, California, golf clothing and other related merchandise, rounds of golf outside of the dates of UAW conferences, and certain meals, liquor, and cigars provided to him by co-conspirators Gary Jones” and others, the filing said, noting that these things were paid for with union funds,” a court filing said.
The filing also indicated that Williams, Jones and their co-conspirators concealed these expenses in bills related to UAW conferences. Jones, who plead guilty to a variety of corruption-related charges, previously held annual conferences in Palm Springs before becoming president of the UAW and would routinely spend union dues on luxury goods while on these work trips.
Williams became UAW president in 2014 and retired in 2018, handing the reigns over to Jones. This latest development makes Williams the second former UAW leader to be implicated in the FBI’s corruption investigation after Jones was charged earlier this year.
In a statement, the UAW reiterated its intention to change its internal culture under the helm of current president Rory Gamble.
“Any violation of Mr. Williams’ oath of office and his responsibility to oversee our members and their sacred dues money, should rightfully face criminal penalty,” the union said. “Today’s development is a sad day for UAW members. But it is also a humbling day of truth and justice demonstrating that no one is above the law, regardless of their position. Under the leadership of current UAW President Rory L. Gamble, the UAW and our International Executive Board continue to focus on comprehensively reviewing and strengthening our union’s financial and ethical policies and controls, and the UAW will continue to take the strong actions necessary to restore the full faith and trust of our more than 400,000 active members and nearly 500,000 retirees across the country.”