Former UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell Sentenced to Prison for Conspiring with Fiat Chrysler to Accept Illegal Payments
Norwood Jewell, the former Vice President of the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (“UAW”) and the highest official in the UAW’s Chrysler Department was sentenced to prison today based on his conviction for accepting bribes from high-level executives of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US LLC (“FCA” or “Fiat Chrysler”), announced U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider.
Joining in the announcement were Irene Lindow, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Inspector General, Rainer S. Drolshagen, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit, Michigan office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Manny Muriel, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit, Michigan office of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations, and Thomas Murray, District Director, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Norwood Jewell, 61, of Swartz Creek, Michigan was sentenced today to 15 months in prison based on his April 2019 conviction for conspiring with other UAW officials and FCA executives to take illegal payments from Fiat Chrysler. Between 2014 and 2016, Jewell was the highest UAW official responsible for administering and negotiating the collective bargaining agreements on behalf of tens of thousands of UAW members employed by FCA. Jewell served as a member of the UAW’s National Negotiating Committee in 2015 responsible for negotiating the collective bargaining agreement between the UAW and Fiat Chrysler.
During the course of the conspiracy, Jewell accepted over $90,000 in illegal payments from Fiat Chrysler for his own personal benefit, for the benefit of his friends, and for the lavish entertainment of the UAW’s senior leadership. Jewell spent tens of thousands of dollars in Fiat Chrysler money to pay for lavish meals, liquor, and cigars for the personal enjoyment of himself and other senior UAW officials. For example, Jewell caused to be spent $6,912.81 in Fiat Chrysler money for liquor and an extravagant meal at the London Chop House in Detroit Michigan in September 2015 for himself and other senior UAW officials, while Jewell and those same UAW officials were negotiating with Fiat Chrysler executives over a new collective bargaining agreement. Jewell also expended thousands of dollars in Fiat Chrysler money to pay for fancy meals, a three bedroom villa with a private pool and hot tub, and twenty-nine rounds of golf for himself and other senior UAW officials in Palm Springs, California. Jewell used Fiat Chrysler money to acquire over $2,000 in tickets and passes at Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida for Jewell’s best friend. Finally, Jewell conducted two lavish parties, each costing over $25,000, at the joint UAW/FCA National Training Center for the members of the UAW’s International Executive Board. The parties included thousands of dollars in Fiat Chrysler money spent on twenty boxes of cigars, ultra-premium liquor, personalized bottles of wine, and women paid to light the cigars of senior UAW leaders.
The Court’s sentencing of Jewell marks the eighth defendant to be sentenced in the ongoing criminal investigation into illegal payoffs to UAW officials. On July 13, 2018, defendant Monica Morgan was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $190,747 in restitution for her tax fraud in connection with the receipt of illegal payments by her husband, the now deceased Holiefield, who had served as the Vice President of the UAW in command of the Chrysler Department. On August 27, 2018, Alphons Iacobelli, FCA’s Vice President for Employee Relations, was sentenced to 66 months in prison and ordered to pay $835,523 in restitution for his involvement in the conspiracy to bribe UAW officials and his submission of false tax returns. On November 7, 2018, defendant Jerome Durden, an FCA executive and Controller of the Joint UAW/FCA National Training Center, was sentenced to 15 months in prison and ordered to pay $8,000 in restitution for his involvement in the conspiracy. Also on November 7, 2018, defendant and FCA executive Michael Brown was sentenced to 12 months in prison and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine for lying to and misleading a federal grand jury in order to cover up FCA’s involvement in the conspiracy. Also on November 7, 2018, defendant Keith Mickens, who served as the UAW’s Director of the National Training Center, was sentenced to 12 months in prison and a $10,000 fine for conspiring to take prohibited payments from FCA. On November 13, 2018, defendant Virdell King, a senior UAW official, was sentenced to two months in prison and a fine of $5,500 for her participation in the conspiracy with FCA and other UAW officials. Finally, on December 18, 2018, defendant Nancy A. Johnson, the second highest official in the UAW’s Chrysler Department, was sentenced to 12 months in prison and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.
“Jewell’s actions as an elected UAW official who took tens of thousands of dollars in illegal payments from Fiat Chrysler amount to a betrayal of the UAW’s members and their families,” said U.S. Attorney Schneider. “Our office will continue to stand up for the men and women of the union by vigorously prosecuting UAW corruption.”
“Mr. Jewell abused his fiduciary position as the former UAW Vice-President by conspiring to accept FCA funds at the expense of the hard working rank and file members of UAW. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to protect the integrity of labor unions and their benefit plans,” said Irene Lindow, Special Agent in Charge, Chicago Region, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General.”
“Mr. Jewell’s criminal conduct was part of a broader pattern of dishonesty and self- enrichment among those convicted as a result of this investigation,” said Rainer S. Drolshagen, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Detroit Division of the FBI. “He chose to take almost $100,000 from FCA for his personal gain instead of looking out for the best interests of UAW members. The FBI and its federal partners will remain vigilant in investigating and exposing anyone – regardless of their position - who violates federal labor laws and betrays the trust of the workers they represent."
“Norwood Jewell betrayed the trust of the union membership who rightfully expected him to protect and safeguard their union’s funds and assets. Instead, Jewell chose to use his elected union position to enrich himself, live a lavish lifestyle, and curry favor with the UAW’s leadership,” said Thomas Murray, District Director, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor-Management Standards. “Jewell’s conviction leaves no question as to the agency’s commitment to root out corruption within the labor community and seek justice when anyone uses their elected position to put their personal financial gain ahead of the best interests of union members.”
These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David A. Gardey, Erin S. Shaw, and Adriana Dydell.