DETROIT -- Former UAW regional director Vance Pearson appeared in federal court Tuesday, days after resigning from his union post amid corruption charges. No plea was entered.
Federal Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Stafford released Pearson on a $10,000 unsecured bond. A preliminary hearing was set for Jan. 6.
Prosecutors charged Pearson on Sept. 12 with misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars of union funds on personal indulgences such as vacations, golf clubs, extravagant meals, cigars and $440 bottles of champagne. He was also charged with mail and wire fraud, conspiracy and money laundering, according to the complaint.
Pearson, who has been with the UAW for 17 years, resigned from his post and terminated his UAW membership Sunday, three days after the UAW's International Executive Board filed Article 30 charges against Pearson and former UAW President Gary Jones.
Jones, who has been implicated but not charged by federal prosecutors in the corruption scheme, resigned Thursday. Pearson had been on paid leave since Oct. 4.
Pearson resigned to better "focus on the events of this case," his lawyer, Scott Rosenblum, told reporters Tuesday.
The UAW said in a statement that it "is disgusted by allegations of criminal wrongdoing and concealment alleged in the Government's charges against Pearson. If true, they constitute a grave breach of Mr. Pearson's sacred duties to our members and our Union."
Criminal proceedings will not distract the UAW from its contract negotiations with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the statement said. The union is focused on "reviewing and tightening financial controls to restore the full faith and trust of our more than 400,000 members across the country."