DETROIT (AP) — A retired vice president of the United Auto Workers union on Wednesday became the 13th person to be charged in a federal investigation of alleged corruption at the union and auto companies.
Joe Ashton is accused of receiving thousands of dollars in kickbacks from a contractor who made watches for union members. The 58,000 watches are still in storage five years later.
Ashton was charged Wednesday with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiring to commit money laundering. The case is filed in Detroit federal court as a "criminal information," which means a guilty plea is expected.
The Associated Press left a message seeking comment from Ashton's lawyer, Jerry Ballarotto.
Ashton was a powerful official who headed the UAW's General Motors department. He also was a member of the GM board, but he resigned in 2017 after being implicated in the widening union corruption probe.
UAW President Gary Jones was placed on paid leave last weekend after a key ally was charged, and Vice President Rory Gamble was named interim head of the union.