Published September 23, 2010
While taxpayers are footing the bill to keep America's auto industry off life support, an undercover investigation shows illegal activities by Chrysler employees who have enjoyed nearly $15 billion in government money.
Dozens of autoworkers in Detroit were caught on camera drinking beer and smoking marijuana before heading to work at the Chrysler plant that President Obama praised in a speech just two months ago.
An exclusive investigation by MyFoxDetroit showed workers at Chrysler's Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit, Mich., drinking beer and smoking joints while on a half-hour lunch break at a nearby park.
The investigation -- conducted over several weeks and based on tips from workers at the plant -- outraged the auto giant's top executives who reportedly called the behavior "totally unacceptable."
Obama spoke July 30 at the plant, where he lauded the American worker, saying, "It's workers like you that built this country into the greatest economic power the world has ever known."
"I want all of you to know, I will bet on the American worker any day of the week." he told the crowd.
"I wish they could see what I'm seeing in this plant and talk to the workers who are here, taking pride in building a world-class vehicle," Obama said, referring to opponents of the multibillion-dollar government auto bailout. "I don't think they'd be willing to look you in the eye and say that you were a bad investment."
Chrysler took $14.3 billion in government bailout money, which includes pre-bankruptcy loans. The company has repaid $3.7 billion.
The plant -- taking up more than 3 million square feet of factory -- employs 2,833 union auto workers. The station's report did not say how many workers were involved in the incident.
Scott Garberding, senior vice president of manufacturing, told MyFoxDetroit that he was "very disturbed" by what he saw in the video.
"I want to make it clear that we at Chrysler take this very seriously," he said in an interview with the station. "For us, this behavior is totally unacceptable and will be dealt with swiftly."