It’s been two months since federal investigators blew the lid off a years-long corruption scheme between certain Fiat Chrysler Automobiles executives and counterparts at the United Autoworkers Union, but a new court filing shows some of the funnelled money took an unusual path.
We’re not talking about the Ferrari, the pool, or the fancy purses and pens. Not even the shotgun. After leaving the account of the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center, a corporation designed to give workers a leg up, investigators claim cash made its way to a former UAW vice-president’s personal foundation and then to two apparently fake hospices.
The kind that don’t perform any hospicing.
In late July, following an investigation by the FBI and IRS, a federal grand jury indicted former FCA financial analyst and training center controller Jerome Durden (who has since pleaded guilty), former Fiat Chrysler VP Alphons Iacobelli, and Monica Morgan-Holiefield, widow of late UAW VP General Holiefield. Up to $4.5 million was allegedly embezzled from the center’s training fund.
Virdell King, a former senior UAW official and training center board member who retired last year, was later indicted on the same conspiracy charges. Prosecutors claim the center acted as a money pit for FCA and UAW execs. Iacobelli reportedly said the cash would keep UAW brass “fat, dumb and happy” — perfect for easy contract bargaining.
In a court filing Tuesday, prosecutors claim some of the money made its way into the late General Holiefield’s Leave the Light On Foundation nonprofit, The Detroit News reports.
The cash — $386,400 — followed an increasingly murky route. After FCA transferred the money to the training center fund, the center transferred it to Holiefield’s nonprofit in response to an appeal for donations to help disadvantaged kids. Not long after, in 2014, the nonprofit deposited $325,000 into the bank account of Hospice of Metropolitan Detroit, which prosecutors say was run by Morgan-Holiefield’s acquaintance, Mary Elon-Eloni Wilks. Prior to the deposit, the hospice’s bank account contained $425.
Another $6,000 from the training center entered a second hospice bank account two years earlier, the filing reads.
Five months after the large deposit, in October 2014, Wilks allegedly registered a second foundation with the same address as the hospice — the Thomas Andrew and Kathryn Mosely Dorsey Foundation. The same month, a second bank account was created, linked to the hospice. It carried the name “Leave the Light on Fund.”
However, when Holiefield fell ill with pancreatic cancer and entered hospice care in March of 2015, it wasn’t at the hospice bearing his nonprofit’s name on its bank account. A former board member claims the hospice wasn’t an entity that actually did anything. (Nor does that board member recall receiving any donations or signing any cheques.)
Five months after Holiefield’s death, the money was drained from the hospice account, with $62,000 going to Wilks, the filing states. That cash, plus $230,000 from the first hospice account, was seized by prosecutors.
While this chunk of dough is only A court filing reveals just how far the money drained from the DFCA-UAWa small part of the overall sum drained from the training center’s fund over the years, it does show just how far those greenbacks detoured from Fiat Chrysler’s intended purpose. That being, of course, the training of autoworkers.
[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]