NEW YORK – United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain is being investigated by a court-appointed watchdog working to root out corruption in the union after the stunning bribery and embezzlement scandal several years ago.

The watchdog, Neil Barofsky, announced he was investigating Fain — and other senior officials UAW officials — in his ninth report to Judge David M. Lawson on Monday. Barofsky also accused the union of a “recent misstep” in cooperating with his supervisory duties, which he said began to crumble earlier this year after his investigations into those individuals began.

The report, filed in the U.S. District Court in Detroit, outlines a number of clashes witnessed in recent months within the UAW’s international board, particularly between Fain and Secretary-Treasurer Margaret Mock.

In February, the report notes, the board passed a motion in support of Fain, rescinding all field assignments assigned to Mock that were “constitutionally not within her authority” and implementing other policy changes following allegations that she engaged in misconduct in her financial oversight responsibilities.

In response, Mock said the allegations were false and claimed the revocation of her authority was in retaliation for “her refusal or reluctance” to authorize certain expenditures that benefited or were requested by those in Fain’s presidential office, the report continues. The New York Times reported that the expenditures allegedly benefited the sister of Fain’s partner.

The monitor soon began investigating Fain, Mock, and the conflicting claims. More recently, the report notes, the monitor expanded the investigation to include additional allegations of retaliation by Fain against one of the union’s vice presidents — and in an unrelated investigation, the monitor also began investigating a regional director after he received allegations of possible embezzlement.

“At this stage, it is important to emphasize that the allegations are only allegations,” Barofsky said, noting that Monday’s report should not be taken as a conclusion on possible allegations.

Still, he later added, it is critical that he have the resources necessary to complete his investigation, and UAW is said not to have fully cooperated.

As these investigations began to bubble up, the monitor alleged a shift in UAW cooperation with its work. While the union has made workers and senior leaders available for interviews, it has failed to provide relevant documents in a timely manner, Barofsky alleges — and claims that only a fraction of the requested documents have been made available after months of efforts, most of which were produced last week.

“The Monitor considers that the Union’s delay in providing relevant documents is hindering and disrupting its access to information it needs for its investigative work,” Barosky’s report on Monday said, later noting that if this is not resolved in the coming weeks, judicial intervention may be necessary.

In a statement sent to the Associated Press on behalf of Fain, the UAW president said: “When we take our union in a new direction, sometimes that means shaking things up. That’s tough on some people who want to maintain the status quo, but our members expect better and deserve better than the way things are.”

“We encourage the Monitor to investigate any claims filed with their office because we know what they will find: a UAW leadership committed to serving its members and running a democratic union,” he added.

Fain was the president of the UAW since spring 2023In addition to promising to take a more confrontational stance in negotiations with major automakers, he pledged to clean up the union when he was elected.

The UAW did not immediately issue statements on Mock’s behalf Tuesday. According to Barofsky’s Monday report, the secretary-treasurer “also rejected the Union’s current position as uncooperative and inconsistent with her own instruction to Union personnel to cooperate fully.”

Barofsky was appointed in May 2021 as part of a plea agreement that averted a government takeover of the union in the wake of a massive bribery and embezzlement scandal. Eleven union officials and the wife of a deceased official pleaded guilty in the corruption investigation, including the two former presidents who were sentenced to prison. The first criminal charges in the investigation were filed in 2017.

This is not the first time the union has been accused of failing to cooperate with its court-appointed monitor. In Barofsky’s third report in July 2022, the union was accused of withholding information about previous allegations of misconduct.

By newadx4

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