Robert Davis pleads guilty to federal crimes

Detroit-area labor activist indicted in 2012

DETROIT – A Detroit-area labor activist charged with stealing money from a school district has pleaded guilty to federal crimes.

Robert Davis' decision to plead guilty to theft or bribery and fraud and false statements charges came in a court filing Tuesday, where he is asking a U.S. district court judge to keep a union job.

Davis, 34, has been employed by a union for nearly 13 years and is a union staff representative, which requires him to file grievances and arbitrations on behalf of union members, as well as serve as their chief labor negotiator during contract negotiations. But law prohibits a person convicted of embezzlement from holding a job with the union.

[Web extra] Court filing for Robert Davis

Davis is charged with stealing $125,000 from the struggling Highland Park school district between 2004 and 2010. He's accused of using companies to submit false invoices and then taking a cut of the cash while on the school board. He is free on bond.

The FBI says that Davis used position as a board member and president to have checks written to companies he controlled in 2007-2010. It says he had $200,000 redirected to an organization he controlled and used the money for personal expenses.

At the time of his indictment in 2012, Davis had said he would fight the charges.

Davis is known for repeatedly suing Gov. Rick Snyder and Detroit officials to stop the use of emergency managers.