U.A.W. Spends $60,000 on Leaders’ Cigar Expenses

(p. B1) On a single day in December 2015, Gary Jones, who resigned last month as president of the United Automobile Workers, spent more than $13,000 of the union’s money at a cigar store in Arizona. His purchases included a dozen $268 boxes of Ashton Double Magnums and a dozen boxes of Ashton Monarchs at $274.50 each. “Hi Gary, Thank you & Happy New Year,” read a handwritten note from the store.

The purchases, documented by a federal complaint filed against a union leader in September, were part of more than $60,000 in cigars and cigar paraphernalia that Mr. Jones and other U.A.W. officials expensed to the union between 2014 and 2018. And the cigar purchases were in turn just a small portion of the roughly $1 million in union money that court filings say U.A.W. officials spent on golf outings, four-figure din-(p. B2)ners and monthslong villa rentals during regular retreats in Palm Springs, Calif., and elsewhere.

The scandal comes on top of an investigation into company and union officials’ improper use of millions of dollars from a joint Fiat Chrysler-U.A.W. training center. Mr. Jones’s predecessor as president, Dennis Williams, is accused of encouraging the use of Fiat Chrysler funds meant for worker education as a way to pay for the extravagant spending in Palm Springs and other places.

For the full story, see:

Noam Scheiber and Neal E. Boudette. “Living the High Life On the Workers’ Dime.” The New York Times (Thursday, December 26, 2019): B1-B2.

(Note: the online version of the story has the same date as the print version, and has the title “Behind a U.A.W. Crisis: Lavish Meals and Luxury Villas.”)

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