Former Birmingham Mayor William Bell cited for ethics violation

Birmingham's economic growth is contributing to the city's largest budget, according to Mayor William Bell. (Michael Tomberlin / Alabama NewsCenter)

Former Birmingham Mayor William Bell was charged with violating state ethics laws by the Alabama Ethics Commission on Wednesday.

Although the details of the violation were not disclosed by the commission, Bell’s attorney Joe Espy said the accusation was in relation to a mandatory meeting Bell held during his re-election campaign last August.

Iva Williams, who originally filed the complaint in September accused Bell of violating state law by using city facilities and his office for political activities, and for using his official position for personal gain.

Bell held a mandatory meeting in August warning city employees that if his opponent Randall Woodfin won, many of them might lose their jobs. An audio recording of the meeting was released following the ethics complaint.

“The political survival of my administration is at stake,” Bell said according to “And if you think that is just about William Bell, no it is about everyone in this room. It is about each of us in this room. Because I guarantee you while some may survive, the vast majority of you will not. OK. I’m not trying to put fear I’m just trying to tell you the realities of the situation.”

On Wednesday the Alabama Ethics Commission ruled that the complaint be handled administratively referring the case to Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office.

“Mayor Bell completely cooperated with the ethics commission and the ethics commission staff,” Espy told “It was a very minor technical matter related to that complaint made during the campaign about that meeting. It was resolved administratively. It is concluded,”

Although the issue is being resolved, Bell could face a fine.