United Auto Workers (UAW) President Gary Jones resigned Wednesday as he was being targeted with a federal investigation for allegedly embezzling over $1.5 million in union funds, The Detroit News reports.
His resignation came less than an hour after UAW's International Executive Board moved to remove him from his title and expel him from the union.
Bruce Maffeo, Jones' lawyer, told the paper “After much discussion with his family and friends, Gary has elected to resign his position as UAW president and retire effective immediately.”
Jones's decision to step down, Maffeo asserted, came before he learned of the International Executive Board's decision to remove him and was based solely on "his belief that his continuing to serve will only distract the union from its core mission to improve the lives of its members and their families.”
The Detroit News first linked Jones to the embezzlement conspiracy two months ago. In October, the paper identified Jones as the unnamed UAW official that was accused by federal prosecutors of aiding in the embezzlement of $700,000 dollars in member dues.
The 62-year-old's 17-month tenure as head of the UAW ran parallel to a federal investigation that has produced 10 convictions and charges against 13 people.
“This is a somber day, but our UAW Constitution has provided the necessary tools to deal with these charges,” UAW Acting President Rory Gamble said in a statement.
"We are committed at the UAW to take all necessary steps including continuing to implement ethics reforms and greater financial controls to prevent these type of charges from ever happening again.”