Home News Auto industry figures face reckoning, prison in federal court

Auto industry figures face reckoning, prison in federal court

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Detroit — Michael Brown, a former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles executive who helped run the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center, was sentenced Wednesday to one year and a day in federal prison for helping cover up a conspiracy involving auto executives funneling illegal payments to union leaders.

Brown, 61, of West Bloomfield Township, the automakers former director of labor relations, is the first of three people facing a reckoning Wednesday in a widespread corruption scandal involving the United Auto workers and Fiat Chrysler.

He deliberately provided misleading and incomplete testimony during the grand jury investigation, enabling the conspiracy to continue for years.

“He covered up everything,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Shaw told U.S. District Judge Paul Borman.

Brown, dressed in a black suit, stared straight ahead as the prosecutor contradicted letters from the disgraced auto executives supporters and defense lawyer who portrayed Brown as a “straight arrow,” loyal to a fault.

That straight arrow provided misleading testimony to a federal grand jury in December 2015, Shaw said.

“In a moment in life when Brown most needed to be a straight arrow,” Shaw said, “he wasnt.”

Brown asked the judge to render a “just decision” but did not apologize or explain his crime. 

After being sentenced, Brown greeted a dozen supporters in the courtroom with hugs, grins and a giggle.

Brown wont have to report to prison until May because he continues to cooperate with the governments investigation, which has widened to Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co.

Shaw referenced at least three unindicted co-conspirators. One who was easily identifiable is former UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell, who retired after his home was raided by investigators.

Jewell was the guest of honor at a party paid for with more than $30,000 worth of training center funds that featured “ultra-premium” liquor and strolling models who lit labor leaders’ cigars.

Come back to www.detroitnews for more on this developing story.

rsnell@detroitnews.com 

(313) 222-2486

Twitter: @robertsnellnews

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