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Birmingham Water Works Board Chair among three indicted for ethics violations

Birmingham Water Works Board Chair Sherry Lewis (left) and Jerry Jones, former Vice President at BWW contractor Arcadis (left), are facing charges related to ethics violations.

Wednesday, the Chairman of the Birmingham Water Works (BWW) Board, Sherry Lewis, was indicted for violating Alabama’s ethics laws.

The Attorney General's Public Corruption Unit issued the three-count indictment, in which Lewis allegedly:

  1. Used her office for personal gain for herself, her family, or her business
  2. Voted or participated in matters in which she or or a family member had a financial interest of gain
  3. Solicited or received something for the purpose of corruptly influencing official action

Birmingham Water Works General Manager Mac Underwood released a statement in response to the indictment, saying:

I'm sorry to learn of the indictment. 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.

The AG concurrently indicted Jerry Jones,the former Vice President of engineering company Arcadis. Jones managed the company's multi-million dollar business with Birmingham Water Works.

Jones also faces a three-count indictment:

  1. Aiding and abetting Sherry Lewis' unlawful behavior in Count 1
  2. Aiding or abetting Lewis' unlawful behavior in Count 2
  3. Offering or providing anything for the purpose of corruptly influencing official action

The AG also indicted Terry Williams, owner of Global Solutions International, an Arcadis subcontractor on the same three counts as Jones.

Lewis, Jones, and Williams were booked into the Jefferson County Jail Wednesday on one count of embezzlement each with a $30,000 bond.

Lewis has been on the Birmingham Water Works Board since a 2008 appointment from then-mayor William Bell.

She was voted to be chair of the board in January 2017, right after a shift in power took place on the board, due to a state law adding four members.

Weeks after she became chair, ABC 33/40’s cameras captured Lewis entering the Jefferson County Courthouse, to spend time with the Attorney General’s Public Corruption Unit and its special grand jury.

During this time, the board continued work with its independent engineering firm, Arcadis.

Jones managed the company’s work with the Birmingham Water Works Board.

The company confirmed his termination Monday, just two days before indictments became public.

In a statement, Arcadis said an internal investigation showed Jones violated company policies, and added that the company cooperated with state and federal investigations as well.

A review of the board’s minutes shows the board spent millions of dollars with Arcadis.

In 2016, the board approved $6.3 million dollars of invoices for Arcadis.

In 2017, minutes from January to May show the board approved invoices worth $1.2 million for Arcadis.

Sherry Lewis' attorney released the following statement:

Sherry Lewis is innocent of the charges returned against her, at the prosecution's request, by a GrandJury that heard only one side of the evidence. Sherry has lived her entire life in Birmingham, Alabama. She has earned an excellent reputation for her honesty, integrity, and hard-work in her professional life, as well as within her community.
Sherry has diligently served on the Birmingham Water Works Board, where she has been a voice of reason and a watchdog for the citizens that served by that Board.
Sherry looks forward to her day in court and expects to be acquitted of all charges by a jury of her peers in a trial where she will have the right to confront the prosecution's evidence.


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