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Federal agents raid home of United Auto Workers union President Gary Jones

Lisa Micheal 4 Aug 28
Gary Jones, the newly-elected President of the United Auto Workers (UAW), addresses the 37th UAW Constitutional Convention June14, 2018 at Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan.

DETROIT – Federal agents raided the home of United Auto Workers President Gary Jones on Wednesday morning as the Department of Justice expands its probe of corruption in the auto union's top ranks while Detroit automakers renegotiate labor contracts for 158,000 employees.

Agents from the Internal Revenue Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation were still on site at Jones' home in suburban Detroit around noon.

Kevin Telepo, a neighbor who has lived in there since 2001, said he noticed FBI and IRS agents searching the property at about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. The agents removed "a bunch of boxes" from the house and "were going through a bunch of cash in the garage," he said in an interview.

Telepo said there were about a dozen cars on the street, including a large black van that remained in front of the house by the early afternoon. There also was a black Chevrolet Suburban with an employee tag next to the driveway for the GM-UAW Center for Human Resources training center, which is a target of the federal investigation.

"It is shocking to see this happening close to home," he said.

Telepo, who was unaware Jones was the president of the UAW, described the suburban Detroit subdivision as "quiet, kid- and family-friendly." He said Jones primarily kept to himself.

The home of United Auto Workers union President Gary Jones on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019 after federal agents raided the home.

Jones' home wasn't the only target hit by federal agents Wednesday morning, according to the Detroit News. They also raided the California home of former President Dennis Williams, the union's training center as well as the Black Lake resort, which is owned by the union, the local paper reported. The raids mark a major shift in the investigation from many former or retired union officials being targeted to active leaders.

The more than two-year probe has already led to the convictions of five people affiliated with the UAW and three Fiat Chrysler executives, including former head of labor relations, Alphons Iacobelli, who was sentenced last year to 5½ years in prison — the longest sentence in the case.

The home of United Auto Workers union President Gary Jones on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019 after federal agents raided the home.

A federal investigation into misuse of millions of dollars in training center funds by Fiat Chrysler executives and UAW leaders expanded to General Motors in recent weeks.

Michael Grimes, a retired senior official with the union's General Motors division, was charged earlier this month with wire fraud and money laundering for allegedly receiving $2 million in kickbacks from UAW vendors. He was charged in a criminal information, which indicates a guilty plea is expected at his next hearing sent for Sept. 4 in Ann Arbor, Mich.,

It would be a major milestone in the Department of Justice investigation into one of America's largest unions. He is the first person not affiliated with Fiat Chrysler to be charged as part of the multiyear probe.

Prosecutors did not identify any GM executives as being involved in the corruption, as they did with FCA.