Perhaps there is nothing as disgusting as a tale of someone who cheats or takes advantage of the poor or underprivileged. Worse is when it is someone who has vowed to help those same people. Unfortunately, that happens too often when we find people who got too much power and they used it for something other than what they were sworn to do and such was the case this week.
Last week, the former President of the United Auto Workers Union (UAW), Gary Jones, pled guilty to stealing union funds and becoming the highest ranking union official to admit wrongdoing in a federal investigation that has involved more than a dozen senior union officials and at least three executives from Fiat Chrysler.
Jones, 63, who led the union in a prolonged strike last year against General Motors, acknowledged using more than $1 million in union funds for vacation rentals, golf outings, clothing, liquor and expensive meals. According to prosecutors, Mr. Jones spent some $60,000 just on cigars and smoking paraphernalia.
The federal investigation into the UAW began more than five years ago and is still active. Among those still under scrutiny is Mr. Jones’s predecessor, Dennis Williams. Court documents allege that, among other things, Williams used UAW money to build a luxury lakeside condo about 250 miles north of Detroit.
The abuse is so rampant that the U.S. attorney in Detroit, Matthew Schneider, has previously said that he could not rule out a federal takeover of the UAW.
When UAW officials talk about ‘corporate greed’, we now know they were not intent on fighting it but simply on joining it and getting their share.
In another case of stealing from the poor last year former US Congresswoman Corrine Brown (D-FL), who represented one of the poorest districts in the state of Florida and who had been re-elected numerous times, was convicted and sent to prison for embezzling money from a charity that she had set up to help education among the poor and underprivileged.
The Bible talks about wrath that God will serve on those who steal and oppress the poor. Even if you are not a Christian, I think we can agree that there should be a special kind of justice for people who steal from those they have sworn to help, especially when they are among the most needy.