DETROIT – Mike Grimes will spend two years and four months in prison after he took kickbacks from a vendor while working as a United Auto Workers union aide.
He pleaded guilty last year to pocketing more than $1.5 million in bribes.
He retired from the UAW in 2018, and now he has admitted he spent years getting wealthy by fleecing a vendor he helped get a UAW contract to sell union watches in exchange for a $60,000 mortgage on a Rose Township home he bought. Grimes then insisted the vendor pay him a monthly consulting fee. Federal investigators estimate that was more than $900,000.
The prosecutor’s office initially wanted Grimes to be sentenced to up to 4 1/2 years, but because he cooperated with the investigation, he was given a shorter sentence. Judge Bernard Friedman wanted Grimes to spend more time behind bars.
Friedman allowed a UAW family member to express her anger during the sentencing.
“There are a lot of hurt union members that have paid dues for a long time and there is a fracturing of the union. They can say this is a victimless crime, but it’s not," Lynda Eckstrom said.
Grimes made numerous apologies after he walked out of court Wednesday.
“I just wanted to say I am sorry to the UAW membership and to my family," he said. "I have a strong history with the UAW. I was a third generation GM UAW member, and I just want to apologize for what I did wrong. I want to ask God for forgiveness and I want to ask the membership for forgiveness. I stepped up, admitted what I did, and my punishment and I accept responsibility for it.”