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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne on Thursday expressed “disgust” over an alleged multimillion dollar conspiracy involving the company’s former labor relations chief, Alphons Iacobelli, and the late General Holiefield, who was UAW’s former top FCA negotiator for eight years.
In a letter to employees obtained by Automotive News, Marchionne distanced the company from the scheme detailed in a Wednesday indictment of Iacobelli and Holiefield’s widow, Monica Morgan. He also said FCA may file a lawsuit against Iacobelli and others.
“I join Dennis Williams, the UAW President, in expressing my disgust at the conduct alleged in the indictment which constitutes the most egregious breach of trust by the individuals involved,” Marchionne wrote. “I also join Dennis in confirming that this conduct had nothing whatsoever to do with the collective bargaining process, but rather involved two bad actors who apparently saw an opportunity to misappropriate funds entrusted to their control and who, unfortunately, co opted other individuals to carry out or conceal their activities over a period of several years.”
Marchionne, who did not address the topic during his Thursday morning conference call with analysts and reporters discussing second quarter earnings, said FCA is considering legal action.
“Now that the matter has become public and FCA US’s actions cannot jeopardize a government investigation, the company intends to pursue all potential legal remedies against Al Iacobelli and any other culpable parties,” he said.
Iacobelli, 57, and Morgan, 54, were charged Wednesday with criminal violations of the National Labor Relations Act. Separately,
federal officials announced fraud charges against a former FCA financial analyst, Jerome Durden, who is accused of creating false tax returns to hide the payments to Holiefield, Iacobelli and other beneficiaries who were not identified.
The payments were made, according to the grand jury, using funds from FCA that were transferred to the Chrysler UAW training center to provide education, training and retraining of workers. The indictment says Iacobelli gave Holiefield and “other senior UAW officials” virtually unlimited and unscreened use of credit cards to keep them “fat, dumb and happy.”
Iacobelli also was charged with tax violations related to diverting more than $1 million in funds from the training center for his own benefit, including: a Ferrari 458 Spider costing more than $350,000; a lease on a private jet; two limited edition Mont Blanc pens costing $37,500 each; a pool and hundreds of thousands of dollars in improvements to his residence; and hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal credit card expenses, among other purchases.
“I encourage you not to be discouraged by the actions of a few people that betrayed our core principles and our standards of morality, integrity and quality,” Marchionne said. “We dealt swiftly with these individuals as we will anyone who does not abide by our code of conduct and who disregard the ethical principles that lie at the foundation of FCA.”
Iacobelli abruptly left FCA in June 2015, shortly before the next round of contract talks with the UAW was scheduled to begin. FCA said at the time that the executive had simply decided to retire but on Wednesday clarified it had fired Iacobelli after learning of “possible malfeasance.”
After leaving FCA, Iacobelli took a high level labor relations position with General Motors,
which has not commented on his current status at the company since his indictment.