DETROIT - New UAW president Rory Gamble and union leadership are pushing back as the feds investigate more corruption allegations.
Rory Gamble has only been president of the UAW since last December, in part because the former president, Gary Jones, stepped down amid corruption allegations that lead to 13 people being charged and 11 convicted.
"Corruption permeates every organization in America," Gamble said in November 2019.
Gamble was talking about corruption allegations within the UAW. But now he's responding to corruption allegations against himself.
"It needs to have a president free of any criminal investigation," said Matt Friedman, co-owner Tanner Friedman public relations.
It's important to note that Gamble has not been arrested or charged with anything. But he is responding to an alleged federal investigation that he received kickbacks or payoffs from Huntington Woods businessman Jason Gordon, who supplied merchandise to the UAW.
"It's not going to move past the scandal," said Friedman.
But in a fiery letter Thursday by Gamble to the nearly 400,000 active UAW members, he called the reports of payoffs "irresponsible headlines" and says he: "Would not have accepted the role of president if he couldn't withstand the scrutiny that he knew this job would bring."
From Friedman's perspective, it's moot even if there is no former charge or arrest against the current president.
"From a PR standpoint, it almost doesn't matter," he said.
Rumor has it that some of these payoffs allegedly happened at the Bouzouki Strip Club.
And although Gamble admits doing business with Gordon, he says: "I absolutely never requested or received any cash or kickback from that vendor or any other. Nor did I ever approach them in any unprofessional or questionable manner."
"I don't see how the organization can move forward positively," Friedman said.