A federal court judge approved former assistant US attorney Neil Barofsky as the UAW’s independent monitor.
US District Court Judge David Lawson in Detroit said in his order on Wednesday: “Barofsky is qualified to serve as a monitor, has sufficient knowledge and experience to do so effectively and is free of any conflict of interest apparent.”
Barofsky is a partner at the Chicago-based law firm Jenner & Block and was a key player in stabilizing the economy in the 2008 financial crisis. He also leads his firm’s monitoring program and previously served as a monitor for Credit Suisse Securities LLC and Credit Suisse AG after multi-billion dollar settlements under an earlier court case.
Barofsky was an Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York and was named the initial Special Inspector General of the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP, “an investigative agency he built from scratch,” according to a court case previous .
One of Barofsky’s main responsibilities will be to oversee the next referendum election to decide how the union’s top leaders will be selected. It is a cornerstone of the agreement reached between the union and the US Attorney’s Office in Detroit, which signaled the end of the criminal investigation at the UAW following the comprehensive corruption investigation.
Barofsky’s approval puts a six-month deadline for election by secret ballot. The UAW’s top leaders are traditionally selected by delegates at a convention, but if members approve a change, they can directly determine who the future UAW presidents and members of the union’s International Executive Board are.
Barofsky also “has the power to oversee the UAW’s operations, investigate possible fraud or corruption within the union, and impose discipline on UAW officers and members before an Independent Contracting Officer also appointed by the Court,” according to a statement to press of the US Attorney General.
Interim US Attorney Mohsin said the monitor will benefit ordinary members of the UAW.
“The men and women of the UAW deserve honest and faithful leaders, dedicated to serving the best interests of the members,” Mohsin said in a press release. “We believe that the supervision of an Independent Monitor will help ensure the rights and interests of members UAW members are protected. I am confident that Neil Barofsky will provide rigorous but fair oversight of the UAW. ”
The court’s approval follows Tuesday’s ruling by former UAW President Dennis Williams in the corruption scandal.
Williams, who pleaded guilty in September to conspiracy to embezzle union funds, was sentenced to 21 months in prison and a $10,000 fine in addition to the UAW restitution of $132,000.
Fifteen people, including former UAW employees and Fiat Chrysler executives, were convicted. The FCA, which merged with Peugeot manufacturer PSA Group this year to form Stellantis, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and agreed to pay $30 million for its role.