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The Daily Gazette
August 18, 2017
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Norwood Jewell is under investigation by the FBI, according to a Detroit News story. The current Vice President at the UAW International office in Detroit is the former director of Flint's UAW Region 1C.
BY MIKE KILLBREATH
CCN Executive Editor
Posted on August 18, 2017
Former director of UAW's Flint Region 1C office being probed by FBI as part of corruption scandal
DETROIT — Long-time UAW official Norwood Jewell is facing a national scandal. A Detroit News story says the former executive director of Flint's UAW Region 1-C office is under investigation by the FBI as part of an on-going probe into a multi-million dollar corruption scandal at the union.
Jewell is accused of accepting a $2,180 shotgun as a gift from another union official in 2015 — shortly after becoming Vice President in 2014 of the UAW International office in Detroit. A UAW statement to the Detroit News said, however, that Jewell reimbursed the union immediately after learning that the shotgun had been purchased with funds earmarked for training blue collar workers. The former UAW official who gave him the shotgun was indicted on Friday.
The indictment against Virdell King charges that she funneled millions of dollars worth of payoffs to UAW officials and auto company executives. King, 65, retired last year after climbing the ladder to become the UAW's associate director. She is expected to plead guilty, according to sources quoted by the Detroit News in its story. That's typical in charging documents listed by the US Attorney's Office as "criminal information" indictments where individuals are generally indicted within several days after they are filed with the court.
UAW President Dennis Williams issued a statement just before noon on Friday, saying, “We are disheartened by the misconduct alleged in today’s indictment. Ms. King is no longer with the union and hasn’t been since February 2016. Based on our own internal investigation, we believe anyone who engaged in intentional misconduct is no longer employed by the UAW. We continue to cooperate with the DOJ and share information with the government.”
King is the fourth person indicted so far in the corruption scandal involving what the government has called a "cozy" relationship between auto company executives at Chrysler Fiat and leaders of the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center in Detroit. The training center was funded by contributions taken out of paychecks of UAW members between 2011 and 2015, according to terms negotiated into contracts between UAW members and Chrysler Fiat.
Others charged in the scandal include Alphons Iacobelli, Jerome Durden and Monica Morgan-Holiefield.
Durden, 61, is expected to cooperate with the government after reaching a plea bargain agreement. The Rochester HIlls resident struct a deal that will send the former Fiat Chrysler financial analyst to prison for a shorter time if he provides valuable testimony against the others.
Morgan-Holiefield is the widow of the late General Holiefield. He is a former UAW Vice President. She was indicted last month and accused of conspiring in the scheme that prosecutors allege drained more than $4.5 million from the training center funds during a period of several years. Holiefield's widow is facing up to five years in prison and could lose her home in a seizure by the government if convicted during a trial that is set to begin on Sept. 25.
Iacobelli also faces up to five years in prison and risks losing his home. He is scheduled to go on trial with Holiefield's widow. Iacobelli is a former Fiat Chrysler executive who allegedly told UAW leaders that they could use their training-center credit cards to buy personal items, according to the indictment against him. “If you see something you want, feel free to buy it,” Iacobelli told senior UAW officials, according to the charging document filed against him in U.S. District Court in Detroit.
The latest court filing alleges that King bought the $2,180 shotgun as a birthday present for Jewell after being told to do so by Jewell’s top administrative assistant, Nancy Johnson. She has not yet been charged and Jewell has not yet been charged although the UAW cancelled two of his scheduled appearances. He was scheduled to appear on Thursday and Friday.
The indictment alleges that King accepted thousands of dollars to make purchases for herself and for UAW senior leaders. She is accused of spending thousands of dollars on designer shoes, clothing, jewelry, luggage and other personal items for herself that were purchased with training center credit cards. She is also accused of buying $40,000 worth of gifts for other UAW senior officials between August 2012 and August 2015 that included the shotgun for Jewell, as well as golf equipment, concert tickets, luggage and theme park tickets.
Sources have told The Daily Gazette that the Internal Revenue Service is also involved in the investigation into Jewell by investigating his bank accounts to determine if he spent more than his UAW salary amount. His total UAW compensation package is $155,459 annually.
Jewell has been a precinct delegate for many years at the Democrat National Convention and he's a member of the Democratic National Committee. He has also been a long-time Executive Committee Member of the Genesee County Democratic Party. Jewell directs the union’s National Chrysler, Heavy Truck, Agricultural Implement and General Dynamic Departments.