A former official of the United Auto Workers union pleaded guilty to federal charges on Monday. Nancy Adams Johnson, a former high-ranking UAW official, was charged in connection with corruption involving Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. Adams Johnson, 57, faced charges in March and was accused of conspiring with UAW and Fiat Chrysler officials to corrupt the negotiation process involving the union and company. According to federal prosecutors, Adams Johnson netted tens of thousands of dollars in illegal payments and other benefits from Fiat Chrysler, which included $1,100 designer shoes, first-class flights air travel, accommodations at resorts, as well as limousine services.

Federal prosecutors found a pattern of Fiat Chrysler officials paying off UAW officials. Adams Johnson is just one of seven persons charged. So far, former Fiat Chrysler executive Alphons Iacobelli and Monica-Morgan Holiefield, the widow of former UAW Vice President General Holiefield, were also caught up in the scandal. Iacobelli and Morgan-Holiefield pleaded guilty to felonies related to embezzling money intended for worker training to enrich themselves. The government’s indictment offered details about an alleged conspiracy that continued after Holiefield retired in June 2014 and into the tenure of his successor, UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell. The conspiracy has raised questions about the contracts negotiated between the UAW and Fiat Chrysler.

Adams Johnson was Jewell’s top administrative assistant. Both served on the committee that negotiated the 2015 contract with Fiat Chrysler. The illegal lucre came from Iacobelli and former Fiat Chrysler analyst Jerome Durden, who also has pleaded guilty. Adams Johnson enjoyed travel, golf outings, fine dining and shopping with money from Fiat Chrysler money that was passed through the training center but intended to keep UAW leaders “fat, dumb and happy,” according to federal prosecutors, and produce favorable concessions for the company. 

Jewell and Adams Johnson were first linked by the Detroit News to the corruption. As one of the most flagrant abusers, Adams Johnson charged more than $75,000 from 2014 to 2016 for personal items. Adams Johnson was charged with conspiracy to violate the Labor Management Relations Act and four counts of receiving and accepting prohibited money and things of value from a union employer. According to the federal government, Adams Johnsons’ spending amounted to $33,000. She may face five years in prison. 

The illegal payments and benefits flagged by federal investigators were from 2014 and 2015. They include:

■$6,912 at the London Chop House.

■$6,678 on flights between Detroit and California.

■$4,587 spent at LG’s Prime Steakhouse in Palm Springs, California.

■$1,259 for luggage.

■$1,652 at Cardliff Limousine in Palm Springs.

■More than $1,800 at Indian Canyons Golf Resort in Palm Springs.

■More than $1,800 at St. John Knits and other retail stores in and around Palm Springs.

■More than $6,900 at the Renaissance Resort & Spa in Palm Springs.

■$1,217 at Salon Bilal in Pasadena, California.

■$1,160 for a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes at Neiman Marcus.

■More than $1,700 for a set of graphite women’s golf clubs and a diva cart bag.

■More than $1,000 at Divalicious and other retail stores in Orlando, Florida, and Clinton Township.

She also spent $2,180 on a Beretta shotgun

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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