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Howes: FBI investigation on UAW training center funds grows to include GM, Ford

UAW-GM Center for Human Resources
Bill VanderMolen/flickr
UAW-GM Center for Human Resources

Four months ago, corruption charges were filed against a former Fiat Chrysler labor executive, and the wife of the late UAW vice president General Holiefield. They're accused of funneling millions intended for training UAW workers into their own pockets.

Today, the Detroit News reportedthat federal agents have broadened this corruption investigation to include a member of the General Motors board, plus the head of the UAW's GM department. The feds are also looking into the UAW training centers funded by GM and Ford.

Daniel Howes, Detroit News business columnist and part of the reporting team on this story along with Robert Snell and Ian Thibodeau, joined Stateside to talk about the investigation.

“Basically it was a $4.5 million scheme to enrich themselves,” Howes said about the new allegations against Joe Ashton and Cindy Estrada.

Howes also clarified that, so far, the car companies themselves are not being charged with anything. That's because the training centers are independent of them.

“The corporations were notified that their training centers had received these subpoenas,” Howes said, “but General Motors and Ford Motor Company, in this case, as corporate entities, have not received these subpoenas.”

The government’s argument is essentially that the way the money was being moved around in the UAW “may have corrupted the bargaining process. They were essentially trying to buy results,” Howes said.

Howes said many people are skeptical of that claim, but the government is working on “connecting the dots.”

Listen above for the full conversation.

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