Vance Pearson, a senior United Auto Workers official charged last week with conspiring with unon President Gary Jones and others to steal union dues, is helping negotiate a contract with General Motors Co., Robert Snell and Kalea Hall of The Detroit News reports.
Pearson, UAW Region 5 director, attended negotiations Sunday in Detroit, three days after federal prosecutors charged him with helping orchestrate a more than $1 million conspiracy that involved stealing dues and spending the money on personal luxuries, two unnamed sources tell the paper.
Pearson, 58, is a former Jones aide who serves on the union's governing board.
Some union members interviewed by Deadline Detroit Sunday night at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant said they're concerned about the FBI probe into union leadership, but are focused on getting a new contract.
From 2014-18, authorities allege, Pearson and other UAW officials submitted fraudulent expense forms for reimbursement from the Detroit headquarters for expenditures in connection with leadership and training conferences.
Conspirators used conferences to conceal the use of hundreds of thousands of dollars in UAW funds to pay for lavish entertainment and personal spending on items such as golf clubs, hats and jackets, meals and cigars, the Justice Department says.
Business reporter Kalea Hall, who joined The News in July, photographed Pearson enterting contract talks at Renaissance Center on Sunday. "Are you Vance Pearson?" she asked, the paper says, quoting his reply:
"No, ma'am," said Pearson.