(WJBK) - A major new development in the widening UAW Fiat-Chrysler bribery scandal -- the feds are now calling both the car company and the union co-conspirators in the case.
"Grease the skids," is the description federal investigators are using to explain what top Fiat Chrysler and UAW officials were allegedly doing to get better outcomes for themselves. Some of the bribes said to be involved are $260,000 for a mortgage payment and $30,000 for airline tickets.
For the average union guy, the allegations are tough to take. There are claims that big wigs at Fiat Chrysler and UAW conspired to break federal laws and get around union negotiations, including the bribes we've heard talk about.
An ex-FCA employee Michael Brown pleaded guilty to one count of lying to a federal grand jury.
"There's some conspiracy going on and if you don't believe me, take look at the plea agreement," said Charlie Langton, FOX 2 legal analyst. "Multiple times the word conspiracy is used in the plea agreement."
Brown's plea agreement deal reading like an unseemly drama.
"Which tells me that the government at least thinks the union thinks there was some collision, or conspiracy between Fiat Chrysler and the union."
The federal document alleges that from 2009 to 2015 UAW and Fiat Chrysler officials conspired in the bribery scheme.
Brown, who was Fiat Chrysler's director for employee relations, the document claims Brown knew top officials in both organizations used the credit card and bank accounts of the UAW Chrysler National Training Center to hide over 1.5 million paid to UAW officers and employees to get themselves a better deal for themselves.
"Michael Brown was in charge of national negotiations, he had authority," Langton said. "We're talking about $4.5 million and the union said we don't know anything about this at all? It is a little strange to me."
General Holiefield, a former UAW VP and his widow Monica Morgan, Fiat Chrysler negotiator Alfons Iacobelli and other top dogs were tied to the alleged plot to essentially leave the little guy out in the cold.
The UAW recently made some changes to its top leadership but the previous administration said they had no knowledge of what was going on between Fiat and UAW, saying they have no tolerance for this alleged behavior.