UAW members’ dues were used to pay lawyers to defend union leaders in federal corruption probe, watchdog group finds.
The years-long and ongoing corruption investigation into the United Auto Workers (UAW) has proven costly to UAW members, according to the Center of Union Facts.
Reviewing the UAW’s financial records on file with the U.S. Department of Labor, the Center for Union Facts found that the ailing auto workers’ union spent $2.3 millionon legal fees to defend top UAW leaders in 2019.
According to the union’s 2019 LM-2 form, the UAW spent more than $2.3 million on legal fees related to the federal corruption investigation. This includes thousands of dollars spent defending now-convicted Jones, as well as Williams.
The UAW has paid “more than $1.9 million to the Chicago law firm Cotsirilos, Tighe, Streicker, Poulos & Campbell since 2015,” when the federal investigation into the union started heating up. An itemized breakdown of the union’s legal expenses last year includes: $320,912 for Dennis Williams; $68,094 for Retired Secretary/Treasurer Gary Casteel; and $24,599 for Gary Jones.
That’s not the only law firm the union has paid millions of dollars to in recent years. Since 2015, the UAW has paid DC-based law firm Bredhoff & Kaiser, PLLC almost $2 million. This is the same law firm the union hired to conduct an “independent” investigation into recent allegations of sexual harassment against UAW executive board member and regional director Richard Rankin. Based on the union’s history with Bredhoff & Kaiser, we’ve questioned how truly “independent” this investigation can possibly be.
In June, Gary Jones, the former International President of the UAW, pled guilty to conspiring with other high-level UAW officials to embezzle over $1 million of UAW dues money, to further racketeering activity, and to evade taxes.
He was the fourteenth person to plead guilt in the years-long investigation into the union’s corruption.
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