Jury trial set for Iacobelli, Morgan in UAW-FCA case

Jury trial set for Iacobelli, Morgan in UAW-FCA case
Michael Wayland
Automotive News | August 2, 2017 – 6:57 pm EST

The former FCA labor relations chief and widow of UAW Vice President General Holiefield are scheduled for a Sept. 25 jury trial.
DETROIT — A judge set a September trial date for two of three people federal officials have charged with taking part in an alleged multi-year conspiracy to siphon millions of dollars from a fund used to train UAW members at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
Former FCA labor relations chief Alphons Iacobelli and Monica Morgan, widow of UAW Vice President General Holiefield, on Wednesday were scheduled for a jury trial beginning Sept. 25 before U.S. District Judge John Corbett O’Meara in Ann Arbor, Mich., according to court records.
Iacobelli, 57, was arraigned Tuesday in federal court in Detroit, a day after Morgan’s arraignment. Both had not guilty pleas submitted on their behalf and each were released on $10,000 bond.
The trial date comes a day after an Aug. 8 plea hearing was scheduled in Ann Arbor, Mich., for former Fiat Chrysler financial analyst Jerome Durden, who was indicted separately last week by federal officials for his alleged involvement in the conspiracy.
Federal investigators say the three played prominent roles in the conspiracy from 2009 through 2014. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, based on a grand jury investigation, claims Iacobelli personally pocketed $1 million and helped funnel $1.2 million from the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center to Holiefield, Morgan and other high-ranking members of the union.
Officials allege Iacobelli and Holiefield, who led contract negotiations between the company and union in 2011, and others used a charity, businesses set up by Morgan, credit cards and other means to siphon the money provided by FCA to the National Training Center for personal gain and expenditures. The funds were allegedly used to pay off a $262,000 mortgage and purchase a $350,000 Ferrari 458 Spider, lavish trips and two solid gold Montblanc pens costing $37,500 each, among other things.
FCA, according to the indictment, made annual transfers to the training center of between $13 million and $31 million from 2009 to 2014. The training center is a tax-exempt corporation established in 1985 to provide education and training to workers.
The indictment says Iacobelli gave Holiefield and “other senior UAW officials” virtually unlimited and unscreened use of credit cards to keep them “fat, dumb and happy.”
While only Iacobelli, Morgan and Durden currently face charges as part of the ongoing investigation, the indictments specifically mention at least eight unnamed people while vaguely mentioning “other” groups of people.
Iacobelli abruptly parted ways with FCA in June 2015, a few months after Holiefield’s death in March of that year. FCA originally said Iacobelli had chosen to retire. But following the federal charges disclosed last week, FCA said Iacobelli and Durden were fired after the company investigated the matter after learning of possible wrongdoings with the training funds.

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