There’s no shortage of historical acrimony between Detroit’s automakers, some of which spills over from the showroom to the courtroom. Fresh out of the latter are allegations of corporate espionage against General Motors.
By the way, that awkward headline (‘Jeep maker’) was deployed thanks to the length of time this legal wrangling has consumed; in other words, it would be technically incorrect to specify ‘Stellantis’ when the flap predates their ownership of the Jeep brand.
That’s why most outlets are simply referring to that side of the puzzle as FCA. For this article, we’ll simply do the same. With that nonsense out of the way, know that the argument between that entity and General Motors stems from the latter tossing accusations of offshore bank accounts being used to hide monetary bribes, ones which were allegedly funneled to the UAW in an effort to skew bargaining efforts and harm GM. Wayne County Circuit Court dismissed GM’s civil suit in the matter last month.
Now, FCA is alleging that GM chose to employ underhanded tactics during requests to the county court that it reconsider the matter. Specifically, they say the second complaint apparently involved the so-called spoofing (or impersonating) of email addresses, in which people from the GM side may have tried to pass themselves off as FCA employees during online communication. FCA’s lawyer, Thomas Cranmer, said in a written statement this type of activity violates the Rules of Professional Conduct in the state of Michigan while using the term ‘corporate espionage’ to describe the alleged activity. If true, it could certainly land them in very hot water. At the bare minimum, it’s a bad look.
This is hardly the first time we’ve reported on this corporate saga and, given the parties involved, it probably won’t be the last. Last summer, details emerged about GM trying to reopen a racketeering lawsuit against FCA, alleging the latter obtained unfair labor advantages thanks to UAW bribes. It was here the notion of these shadowy offshore bank accounts was mentioned, along with murmurs of a former UAW veep and ex-GM board member being a covert mole. FCA, for its part, said its rival’s story was a “third-rate spy movie, full of preposterous allegations.”
There’s also been no shortage of drama inside the UAW, with a report late last year citing that the DoJ reached a proposed civil settlement with the union in the corruption case that entangled two former presidents and a yaffle of union officers.
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