Former UAW Vice President Joe Ashton speaks during a GM announcement at a plant in Spring Hill, Tenn. In 2011.
DETROIT – Federal attorneys have fired retired United Auto Workers Vice President Joseph Ashton, a former board member of General Motors, as part of his corruption zone in the union.
Ashton, who resigned from the GM board in December 2017 after allegedly being linked to the investigation, was indicted for fraud and money laundering conspiracies. Money laundering is punishable by up to 1
Ashton was indicted Wednesday in a criminal information submission, indicating that a guilty plea is expected. His lawyer, Jerry Ballarotto of New Jersey, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
GM, in an email statement, said it "did not realize this illegal activity until it was recently disclosed by the government investigation." The company was also unaware that "he allegedly continued to take advantage of this behavior" while he was a member of the board, it states.
Federal attorneys accuse Ashton, who resigned from the UAW in 2014, for demanding and accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in setbacks and for improper use of his position for unlawful benefit to himself and others.
The charges outlined in the filing center on Ashton's position overseeing a jointly controlled fitness center with GM known as the Center for Human Resources, which the company recently announced plans to dissolve as part of the new labor union agreement.
An alleged scheme identified by federal prosecutors involved a nearly $ 4 million contract with the memory clock training facility. According to the filing, Ashton demanded $ 250,000 from the supplier, which he had instructed to create a new company to produce the watches, which were never distributed to members.
UAW Vice President Rory Gamble, Acting President of the Union, said in an email statement that the allegations "are completely unforgivable and violate the UAW's long-standing standards of conduct that are in place by former leaders such as Walter Reuther."
Ashton, who was the first UAW leader on the GM board, is the 13th person charged as part of the probe, including 10 associate officials and three Fiat Chrysler executives. Ten people have so far been convicted, including two union officials who admitted to assisting Ashton.