His motive, according to GM, was to bribe the UAW into making sweetheart deals with FCA to pressure GM into merging with FCA. Industry consolidation was Marchionne's overriding mission during his later years, and he had repeatedly failed in his pursuit of a merger with GM.
The GM lawsuit contains details about Marchionne's mission that few others would ever share, or want to share.
The suit — citing evidence obtained through "information and belief" — goes into great detail about FCA's advantages over GM that were purchased from UAW executives during Iacobelli's tenure.
For example, the lawsuit cites secret deals related to lower-paid tier-two and temporary workers. The UAW allowed FCA to use more of these workers than GM. The UAW also looked the other way on potentially expensive worker grievances at FCA because of these secret deals.
The union and the company further had a secret "side letter" in 2014 allowing FCA to get more favorable prescription drug prices. Such a deal would have saved GM $20 million a year, the suit said, again citing "information and belief."
A good source for such "information and belief" could be the person who negotiated the deal.
FCA Chairman John Elkann and his lawyers can call this lawsuit nonsense and might even have the guts to file some kind of counterclaim. They might convince a judge to toss the whole thing out.
But they better be careful.
This litigation might take on the look of a football game where one team plays against another team whose coach has a copy of their playbook. GM could have all the evidence it needs to make FCA — and their suitors at PSA Group — very uncomfortable.
After all, someone with the ethics of Al Iacobelli could tell GM an awful lot over several months. As the old saying goes, he's the bad penny that keeps turning up.