Corrupt UAW VP Like ‘Captain Of The Ill-Fated Titanic,’ Says Lawyer

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That the UAW’s ‘Culture of Corruption’ at Fiat Chrysler predated Norwood Jewell’s arrival should provide some sentencing leniency, argues his lawyer.

The lawyer for Norwood Jewell—the highest-ranking UAW officer to face prison time (so far) in the multi-year UAW corruption scandal—is asking for home confinement, according to the Detroit Free Press, rather than jail time—likening Jewell to the captain of the ill-fated Titanic.

In April, Jewell pled guilty “to conspiring to violate the Labor Management Relations Act by accepting, arranging for, and approving illegal payments from Fiat Chrysler executives to high-level UAW officials from 2014 through 2016.”

“Operating in a culture of recklessness, commanding the greatest ship in the world that catered to some of the wealthiest people in the world … with the eyes of the world on him and his ship, it’s small wonder Captain Smith sailed full speed through those icy waters,” according to the memo filed Monday by Newell’s attorney, Michael Mann. “It was inevitable, perhaps. Yet history has remembered Captain Smith as somewhere between reckless showoff and stoic hero. Often forgotten is the culture he’d been dropped into.”



Mann’s plea for leniency for Jewell stems from the fact that Jewell inherited the UAW’s “Culture of Corruption” when he replaced corrupt UAW VP General Holiefield—who headed the union’s Fiat-Chrysler (FCA) division and whose arrangements with now-jailed FCA executive Al Iacobelli are at the heart of the scandal.

Although Holiefield died before he could be prosecuted, his wife, Monica Morgan, is now in prison for felony tax fraud stemming from her role in the scandal.

“How could … Norwood Jewell become the face of union corruption?” the memo states. “Much the same way a seasoned ship captain like Edward Smith can become the face of heedless seamanship. Culture.“

“The lavish expenditures, the fine cigars, the rounds of golf, the steakhouse dinners — those things were commonplace long before Jewell got to FCA. Jewell, new to the role, relied ‘upon the lookouts to correct course short of collisions.’ Unfortunately for Jewell, his ‘lookouts’ did not protect him from collision but continued full speed ahead,” the memo said.

Jewell is expected to be sentenced on August 5.

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