United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, Matthew Schneider, has said new details about the ever expanding UAW corruption probe have been trickling in. But he’s also criticizing the union for not providing adequate cooperation throughout the multi-year investigative process. Schneider indicated there was new evidence included additional details of malfeasance from former UAW President Gary Jones shared by the union in November. While the prosecutor did not offer details, he said it was the type of information that should have been reported to his office, not publicly.
Automotive News surmised he was likely referencing details released late last month by the union’s executive board in an effort to remove Jones and Region 5 Director Vance Pearson. That report included allegations that Jones let his daughter use a UAW-rented townhouse in Palm Springs, California. Sources familiar with the situation have confirmed that the union publicly released information against the two at roughly the same time it was handed it over to the U.S. attorney’s office.
“What we really would want is cooperation from the UAW,” Schneider said. “When I’m reading for the first time in the newspaper about criminal activity that hasn’t been reported to the Justice Department, that’s not helpful cooperation.”
From Automotive News:
Schneider made his first public comments about the UAW investigation to The Detroit News last week and has since granted interviews with other media outlets. He said the interviews have led to a number of tips from the public that have produced new information in the case as recently as Tuesday.
Schneider wouldn’t discuss specifics of the case and walked back previous comments to the News saying the investigation was about halfway completed.
“It’s very difficult to predict in any criminal investigation where you are,” he told Automotive News. He declined to say whether additional charges were coming, explaining that “all options are on the table” when asked about the possibility of placing the union in federal receivership under racketeering charges.
Schneider also said there was a clear distinction between saying one will cooperate and actively doing so. “Active cooperation isn’t, ‘Ask us questions and we’ll answer them,’ ” he said. “Active cooperation is, ‘We want to help you; here’s what we know.’ In order for this to be a more successful relationship, that’s what we’re looking for.”
The U.S. attorney said he’s waiting to see if the UAW’s acting president, Rory Gamble, will be more helpful than his predecessor. Obviously, the union responded by suggesting it’s doing more than its part to help end corruption.
“[It’s] disappointing that Mr. Schneider does not yet recognize the UAW’s sincere efforts at reform.” said UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg. “The UAW has, as recently as last week, expressed a willingness to further work with the government on the issues of concern. And we continue to cooperate in providing the government any and all records requested.”
Thus far, the probe has resulted in 13 people being brought up on corruption charges with 10 pleading guilty. Federal prosecutors have indicated that more of both will undoubtedly come. Meanwhile, Gamble has been saying he “won’t tolerate any inappropriate actions” and is aiming for the union to have the “highest standards of conduct” possible. He has also said he felt confident that the 12 remaining members of the union’s International Executive Board would not be swept up in the scandal.
“I don’t know,” Schneider said in response. “We will wait and see.”