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Former UAW top leader sentenced to 21 months for corruption


On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Borman sentenced former United Auto Workers president Dennis Williams to 21 months in prison. That will be followed by one year of supervised release. Williams has also paid $132,517 in restitution to the UAW.

Williams pled guilty last August to a multi-year conspiracy to embezzle funds for personal benefit.

The money went to pay for private villas, rounds of golf, and high end meals, liquor, and cigars for himself and his friends.

At his sentencing hearing, Williams expressed remorse, saying he'd undermined his life's work and betrayed the trust of UAW members.

But he also pointed a finger of blame at his successor, former UAW president Gary Jones, saying he shouldn't have taken Jones at his word that everything about the reimbursements was above board.

"In my gut I knew better, and I failed to stop it," said Williams.

Speaking for the government, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Cares said Williams "has cast a stain on the UAW." Cares said Williams "gave into greed" and created an "entitlement culture" among top ranking union officials.

In pronouncing the sentence, Judge Borman noted that Williams served for four years as Secretary-Treasurer of the UAW and was therefore "well versed in financial proprieties."

Williams is one of 11 union officials convicted, along with Jones, as part of an ongoing federal probe into corruption within the UAW leadership. Jones is scheduled to be sentenced in June.

Virginia Gordan has been a part-time reporter at Michigan Radio since fall 2013. She has a general beat covering news topics from across the state.
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