Gary Jones has confessed to embezzling over $1 million from rank-and-file members of the United Auto Workers Union, the New York Times reports. The former UAW president pleaded guilty Wednesday and admitted to skimming money for various personal expenses including golf outings, pricey meals, vacation rentals, liquor, and clothing. Prosecutors say he even forked out $60,000 on cigars and smoking gear. Jones issued his plea in a Zoom hearing before a US District Court in Michigan. "While some of these expenditures related to union activities, others were personal in nature and did not relate to union business," he said. "I recognize that my actions violated the law as well as my sworn obligation to my fellow union members."
Jones fell on the sword some seven months after federal agents raided his former Missouri home. Now their investigation has spread out to include related schemes by other union and corporate officials, possibly including Jones' predecessor, Dennis Williams, who received a lavish lakeside cabin from the union. Jones, 63, could get 5 years in prison when he's sentenced on Oct. 3. But for the UAW's roughly 400,000 active members—who make up the biggest union at Fiat Chrysler, Ford Motor, and GM—it's a bitter pill to swallow. "Whatever sentence he gets, whatever restitution he gives does not right the theft he committed or the damage he has done to the movement—the entire labor movement," the head of a UAW local tells the Detroit News. "It was all about him." (Read more embezzlement stories.)