DETROIT -- Nancy Adams Johnson, a former top aide to ex-UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell, entered a plea deal in federal court in Detroit on Monday for her involvement in a scheme to misappropriate funds to top UAW officials.
Adams Johnson's attorney, Harold Gurewitz of Gurewitz and Raben PLC, confirmed the plea deal Monday afternoon.
Adams Johnson, 57, was charged in March in the federal corruption investigation that alleged several Fiat Chrysler Automobiles employees and executives paid UAW representatives to influence union business.
Court documents say officials siphoned money through the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center in Detroit and used false charitable donations and training center credit cards to buy luxury items.
Adams Johnson was accused of conspiring with UAW officials and receiving cash and gifts from Fiat Chrysler via the training center's funding. Her purchases totaled more than $40,000 and included first-class flights, luggage, rooms at luxury resorts and a shotgun for another UAW official.
She pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to violate the Labor Management Relations Act with an expected prison sentencing guideline of 12-18 months.
“Today’s conviction of yet another senior UAW official further exposes the dishonorable scheme between UAW officials and Fiat Chrysler executives to corrupt the collective bargaining process at the expense of rank and file union members,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said in a statement. “The conviction reveals that part of this scheme involved the wrongful use of UAW funds for extravagant meals, entertainment, golf, and travel for little, if any, union-business purpose.”
Ongoing criminal prosecution
Earlier this month, Monica Morgan, widow of former UAW Vice President General Holiefield, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for falsifying a tax return in relation to the criminal investigation.
"The misconduct by Nancy Johnson and certain other individuals in this case has been very disturbing," the UAW said in an e-mailed statement. "The UAW has taken strong measures to prevent a reoccurrence of this type of misconduct and our new leadership team continues to oversee improvements in our operations and financial controls. We will continue to review the facts and take additional actions as warranted.
"We want our members to know the criminal conduct to which Nancy Johnson pled guilty did not affect our collective bargaining agreements which pass through many layers of review, including ratification by all UAW members.”
Holiefield led the union's negotiations with Chrysler in 2007 and 2011. He died in 2015 and Morgan was named in an indictment in July 2017 that accused the couple of receiving $1.2 million over at least five years from the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center.
The other individuals who have been charged in the case are Alphons Iacobelli, a former FCA labor relations chief; Jerome Durden, a former FCA financial analyst; former FCA employee Michael Brown; ex-UAW associate director Virdell King; and UAW official Keith Mickens. Jewell has been implicated in the scandal but not formally named as a conspirator by investigators.
Morgan, Iacobelli and Durden are also being sued by the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center to recover more than $4.4 million in damages.