Three people connected to B'ham Water Works Board indicted for violation of Alabama ethics laws

Three people connected to B'ham Water Works Board indicted for violation of Alabama ethics laws
Jerry Jones mugshot. (Source: JeffCo Jail)
Jerry Jones mugshot. (Source: JeffCo Jail)
Mayor Terry Williams. (Source: Website for Mount Vernon, AL)
Mayor Terry Williams. (Source: Website for Mount Vernon, AL)

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Three people connected to the Birmingham Water Works Board were indicted Wednesday on multiple counts of violating state ethics laws.

Those three individuals are:

Sherry Lewis, Chairman of the Birmingham Water Works Board
Jerry Jones, the former Vice President of Arcadis - an engineering firm that did business with the board
Terry Williams, owner of a company that is an Arcadis subcontractor and Mayor of Mount Vernon, Alabama

All three turned themselves in at the Jefferson County Jail in Birmingham. They were booked on charges of embezzlement with a $30,000 bond.

Lewis has been a member of the water works board since 2008 and chairman since January 2017.

Jones was fired from his job at Arcadis and officials with the company say they are cooperating with investigations that may include Water Works business.

Williams is owner of Global Solutions International, Inc., an Arcadis subcontractor.

According to the office of Attorney General Steve Marshall, the Birmingham division of the FBI assisted with the investigation into allegations of corruption in the Birmingham Water Works and its independent engineer of record, Arcadis, as well as Arcadis subcontractor, Global Solutions International, Inc.

Prosecutors presented evidence Tuesday to a grand jury resulting in these indictments. A Jefferson County special grand jury remains impaneled and the investigation continues.

You can view a press release from the Alabama Attorney General's office with details of their work below, including descriptions of the multiple counts the three are facing:

"I want to thank the Birmingham Division of the FBI for partnering with my Special Prosecutions Division to investigate this matter," said Attorney General Marshall. "The citizens of this state expect honesty and integrity from public servants at all levels of government. As Attorney General, a top priority is to ensure that any person who violates the public's trust will be held accountable."

"I certainly appreciate the partnership of the Alabama Attorney General's Office in this case," said Johnnie Sharp Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the Birmingham Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "Public corruption continues to be the FBI's highest criminal priority because it erodes the public's trust and rips at the fabric of democracy. If you know something about a corrupt public official, call us. Then rest assured that the FBI and our partners will act on your information."

Attorneys for Lewis released a statement on her behalf Wednesday afternoon, claiming her innocence. You can read her statement below:

Sherry Lewis is innocent of the charges returned against her, at the prosecution's request, by a Grand Jury that heard only one side of the evidence.

Attorneys for Arcadis released the following statement about the matter:

We appreciate the partnership and cooperation with the Alabama State Prosecutor and respect the state's adherence to laws that protect integrity in the workplace.
As a result of their investigation, no charges have been filed against the company.
The company conducted its own thorough internal investigation, which resulted in Mr. Jerry Jones being separated from the company for violating company policies.
As a company, we are committed to integrity and strive to operate our business in an honest and responsible way, working to the highest professional standards.
For more than 50 years, Arcadis, and before the acquisition, Malcolm Pirnie, has provided independent engineering and drinking water quality work for the City of Birmingham and neighboring communities.  The company remains committed to the City of Birminghamand its goal of improving the quality of life for its citizens.

BWWB's General Manager Mac Underwood called the indictment an unfortunate outcome of a lengthy investigation.

"I am sorry to learn of the indictment," Underwood said in a press release. "Incidentally, we must be mindful that being accused of unlawful conduct does not automatically make one guilty. However, we must let the legal process run its course."

According to the AG's office and the FBI, no additional information about the investigation or alleged crimes can currently be released.

If convicted, Lewis, Jones, and Williams could face a maximum of 20 years in prison and fines of $30,000 for each of the counts in the indictments.

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