DETROIT — Former UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell was sentenced Monday to 15 months in prison and a year of supervised probation for his role in a multimillion-dollar corruption scandal involving the union and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
He is the highest-ranking UAW figure charged in the federal probe.
Jewell was charged in March with one count of conspiracy to violate the Labor Management Relations Act for receiving more than $40,000 worth of travel, lodging and meals from people acting on behalf of FCA from at least 2014 to 2016. He pleaded guilty to the charge April 2.
He is one of four UAW officials to be charged in connection to the multiyear investigation involving misappropriated funds at a UAW-Chrysler training center. Jewell's lawyer, Michael P. Manley (no relation to current FCA CEO Mike Manley), had argued for home confinement while prosecutors asked for a sentence of 15 months.
He had faced a maximum of 18 months in prison due to his plea agreement guidelines.
Appearing before U.S. District Judge Paul Borman on Monday afternoon, Jewell said culture corruption was concealed from him and that he tried uncovering improper charges through an audit.
"I am remorseful for the shadow I casted on myself and the union that I love,” Jewell said.
Jewell began leading the union's FCA department in June 2014, following the retirement of General Holiefield. Federal investigators have identified Holiefield, who died in 2015, and his wife, Monica Morgan, as key figures in the scandal. Morgan was sentenced in July 2018 to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to a tax charge for hiding $201,000 on her 2011 taxes.
During Monday's sentencing, prosecutors said that the trust and confidence that UAW members had are shattered by the tens and thousands of dollars spent by Jewell to maintain a high lifestyle for himself and other UAW officials.
“Mr. Jewell made the decision to not cooperate against other union officials who broke the law,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney David Gardey. “It shows he places his loyalty in union officials and that doesn’t make him a hero. This case is about betrayal of trust and simple greed of ambition.”
Gardey added: “Mr. Jewell has not shown true remorse today.”
Manley argued that his client worked his way up from “a servant on the line to the ranks” and had to rely on the other UAW officials. He placed the blame on a “culture corruption,” and other UAW officials who have been charged, including former UAW Associate Director Virdell King, senior UAW official Keith Mickens, and Jewell's former aide Nancy Johnson.
“Is [Jewell] this crook the newspaper narrative made him out to be? Absolutely not," Manley said. "Was the captain asleep? Absolutely, but the people he was supposed to rely on crashed the ship right into the iceberg.”
In a statement the UAW said: “The sentencing of Norwood Jewell speaks for itself. The UAW's leadership is determined to earn back our members’ trust with our Clean Slate reform agenda and a take-no-prisoners approach at the bargaining table, where we will draw the line on more concessions to an auto industry flush in profits.”
Those charged in the case from FCA were former labor relations chief Alphons Iacobelli, financial analyst Jerome Durden, and employee Michael Brown.