Nov. 20 (UPI) -- United Auto Workers President Gary Jones resigned Wednesday amid accusations he embezzled more than $1.5 million from the union.
His announcement came hours after the UAW International Executive Board voted to expel him and UAW Region 5 Director Vance Pearson from the union.
"After much discussion with his family and friends, Gary has elected to resign his position as UAW president and retire effective immediately," Jones' lawyer, Bruce Maffeo, told The Detroit News in a statement.
"His decision to do so was reached before learning of the internal charges filed earlier today by the UAW and was based 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."
Jones has been on a leave of absence from the UAW since August after the FBI raided his home in connection with the accusations.
The UAW's Article 30 charges accused Jones and Pearson of submitting false, misleading and inaccurate expense reports.
"This is a somber day, but our UAW Constitution has provided the necessary tools to deal with these charges," said UAW acting President Rory Gamble. "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."