DETROIT -- An investigation is underway into whether Detroit automakers paid indirectly for labor on a UAW Black Lake Conference Center cabin slated for use by retired UAW President Dennis Williams, three anonymous sources familiar with the investigation told The Detroit News on Wednesday.
Gina Balaya, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Justice in Detroit, could not confirm or deny the existence of a federal investigation into the funding of the resort in northern Michigan.
The anonymous sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly, told the newspaper that investigators have issued grand jury subpoenas to determine if up to $1 million from Detroit automakers was spent on cabins used by union leaders at Black Lake.
The FBI, IRS and Labor Department searched the resort Aug. 28 as part of a nationwide raid that included the Detroit area home of current UAW President Gary Jones.
"Black Lake is a 50-year-old facility that welcomes tens of thousands of UAW members and the public each year," UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg told Automotive News in an emailed statement. "Annually, the International Executive Board allocates funds for the routine maintenance and renovation of the many buildings on the Black Lake property including a $10 million capital improvement fund.
"There were renovations to those facilities during President Williams term of office done by UAW Black Lake employees who belong to the United Steelworkers union," Rothenberg added. "Importantly all structures are property of UAW Black Lake."
Meanwhile, a hearing for Vance Pearson, director of UAW Region 5, who was charged Sept. 13 with embezzlement of union funds, has been moved to Nov. 20, according to court documents. It had been scheduled for Oct. 3.