Ex-Fiat Chrysler executive charged in union official payoff

DETROIT — A former Fiat Chrysler executive was charged Wednesday with looting a training centre for blue-collar workers by giving $1.2 million through a variety of ways to a UAW leader, his wife and other senior union officials.

Al Iacobelli was indicted in an alleged conspiracy involving United Auto Workers vice-president General Holiefield and Holiefield’s wife, Monica Morgan. Holiefield died in 2015.

The indictment describes a multiyear scheme to reward Holiefield and Morgan with first-class travel, designer clothing and jewelry. A $262,000 mortgage on their home in suburban Detroit was paid off, according to the grand jury.

Iacobelli treated himself to more than $350,000 for a Ferrari, the government alleged.

The “indictment exposes a disturbing criminal collaboration that was ongoing for years between high ranking officials of FCA and the UAW,” said David Gelios, head of the FBI in Detroit. FCA is Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

In June 2015, Iacobelli suddenly departed from Fiat Chrysler with little explanation. He was the company’s North American labour relations chief and head of Mexico human resources. Holiefield was responsible for negotiating with Fiat Chrysler on behalf of the UAW.

The allegations call “into question the integrity of contracts negotiated during the course of this criminal conspiracy,” Gelios said.

The government said the money came from the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center in Detroit, which was created to retrain auto workers. Fiat Chrysler made annual payments of $13 million to $28 million to the centre, from 2009 to 2014. Iacobelli and Holiefield were co-chairmen.

Morgan and Iacobelli are charged with conspiracy and tax crimes. Iacobelli is also charged with making illegal payments to a union official.

Morgan’s lawyer, Steve Fishman, declined to comment. A message seeking comment was left for Iacobelli’s lawyer.

In a statement, Fiat Chrysler said the company and the union are victims in the alleged scheme. The automaker said it fired Iacobelli and Jerome Durden, who worked in finance, after “obtaining credible evidence of wrongdoing” in 2015.

Iacobelli, however, landed another job — at rival General Motors as executive director of labour relations. GM spokesman Tom Wickham said he didn’t know Iacobelli’s status after the indictment.

Iacobelli is accused of enriching himself, too. The indictment said $40,000 was transferred from the training centre to complete the purchase of two solid gold Mont Blanc pens. He also is accused of taking $375,000 to install a pool, outdoor kitchen and spa at his home in Rochester Hills, Michigan.

Separately, prosecutors unsealed a conspiracy charge against Durden, who handled finances at the training centre. The charges against him were filed as criminal “information,” which means that a guilty plea is expected. His lawyer declined to comment.

Holiefield began his career in 1973 as a Chrysler factory worker in Detroit. He became a UAW vice-president in 2006 and was re-elected in 2010.

“My goal has always been to lift people out of poverty and to give them a better standard of living,” Holiefield said in 2013.

Holiefield took a leave of absence in 2014 after he was charged with accidentally shooting his wife while cleaning a handgun at his home. He pleaded no contest to reckless use of a firearm.

Holiefield soon retired from the union. Less than a year later, in March 2015, he died of pancreatic cancer at age 61.

Just Posted

WATCH: Sheraton Celebrity Dance Off 2018 dancers revealed

In partnership with 2019 Canada Winter Games

Local haunted house offers a chilling Halloween experience

Chad and Jarita Carlson’s annual venture also supports the Lacombe Food Bank

Local church welcomes LGBTQ community

Gaetz Memorial United Church declares itself an Affirming Ministry

At mid-mandate and with extra cash, Liberals to chart fiscal course toward 2019

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government, right at the midpoint of its mandate,… Continue reading

Voter turnout down in this election

The voter turnout was estimated to be about 17 per cent, down from previous election

WATCH: A magical Harry Potter weekend in downtown Red Deer

Wizards, witches and muggles are flocking to downtown Red Deer to celebrate… Continue reading

Jason Kenney will be in Red Deer on Monday

The UCP candidate is hosting a series of town hall

Sylvan’s talent on display for fundraising show

Sylvan Lake Refugee Project is hosting Sylvan’s Got Talent Nov. 3

B.C. ice rink where 3 people died remains closed due to safety concerns

FERNIE, B.C. — Residents who were forced from their homes because of… Continue reading

Trudeau condemns appointment of Mugabe as WHO ambassador

EDMONTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the appointment of Zimbabwe President… Continue reading

Friday Oct. 21: Winning Lotto Numbers

Friday, October 20, 2017 LOTTO MAX Winning Numbers 1 4 12 27… Continue reading

New northbound Hwy 2 lanes at Gaetz Avenue to open this Sunday

Drivers heading north through Red Deer on Hwy 2 will have a… Continue reading

Sockey Night at Saturday’s Rebels game

United Way Central Alberta is determined to provide warm feet for all… Continue reading

Canadian planet hunter seeking alien life

‘The shifting line of what is crazy’ says Toronto-born astrophysicist

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month