Birmingham Water Works Board (BWWB) of Directors member Sherry Lewis filed a request to dismiss her ethics violation charges in April, saying the state’s case against her had no real substance as it did not contain specific dates for her infractions.
Lewis’s motion also included language saying she was not informed of any specific conduct for which she had disobeyed the law, and failed to inform her, and her codefendants Jerry Jones and Terry Williams, “‘of the nature and cause of the accusation’ against her and subjects her to being ‘twice put in jeopardy'” making the original claim against her unconstitutional.
The Alabama Attorney General’s office responded to Lewis’s request this weekend by denying it. They said the evidence against her is sufficient, and her concerns about “double jeopardy” are premature.
Lewis, Williams and Jones were indicted for several violations of state ethics laws in December of 2017. The original claim the state made against Lewis said she used her “official position or office to obtain personal gain for herself, a family member, or a business with which she is associated, and such use and gain were not otherwise specifically authorized by law.” She argues in her request for dismissal that the state used language from an Alabama law, not specifics for which she was indicted.
But the state’s response to Lewis’s request for dismissal tells a different story, which describes that Lewis unlawfully used her influence on the board to obtain “money, a no-show job for a family member, and free meals and other improper benefits.”
The response continues to say Lewis got those things from two people: “Defendant Jerry Jones, a former Vice President of Arcadis U.S. Inc., and Defendant Terry Williams, an Arcadis subcontractor. Jones was the manager of the BWWB account with Arcadis and he ostensibly hired Williams and his company, Global Solutions, LLC, to work on BWWB projects.”
Arcadis has made millions of dollars advising and working on technical issues for the BWWB, and Jones, as Arcadis’s account manager for the BWWB contract, earned more than $300,000 per year for his his client-management services.
Asking for specifics on her charges, Lewis got them.
The state’s response to Lewis continued to say that Jones and Williams provided Lewis’s son, Joseph Lewis, with a no-show job with Williams’s company. Joseph Lewis received more than $25,000 from the company and would regularly deposit money into his mother’s account, often the same day Williams paid him.
“Additionally, when Lewis traveled for BWWB business, Jones often paid the bill,” said the state’s response.
“On numerous occasions, Jones filed false expense reports and reimbursement requests with Arcadis about meals that Jones bought for Lewis or her family. For her part, Lewis concealed that her sixty-plus votes for Arcadis benefited her financially and that her refusal to consider other engineering firms for public work had a personal motivation. By prioritizing personal financial gain over honest government, the Defendants violated the Alabama Ethics Act,” the report continues.
Lewis and her attorney’s refuse to admit to these charges, and is “looking forward to her day in court to confront the prosecutions accusations,” according to WBRC.
If found guilty of the charges, Lewis, Jones and Williams all face $30,000 each in fines, and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.