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First arrests made in Birmingham Water Works Board probe

A view of downtown Birmingham.

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The chairwoman of the scandal-plagued Birmingham Water Works Board and two others were arrested Wednesday on felony ethics charges.

BWW chairwoman Sherry Lewis was indicted by a special grand jury earlier this week on charges of misusing her office for personal gain, or the gain of a family member, voting on matters in which she had a personal interest and soliciting or accepting anything for the purpose of corruptly influencing official action.

In addition to Lewis, Jerry Jones, the vice president of Arcadis, and Mt. Vernon Mayor Terry Williams, the former owner of Global Solutions International, were each indicted for aiding and abetting Lewis by offering her money and other things of value for corrupt acts. Arcadis served as BWW’s independent engineer and Global Solutions was a sub-contractor working under Arcadis.

“The citizens of this state expect honesty and integrity from public servants at all levels of government,” Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said in a statement. “As Attorney General, a top priority is to ensure that any person who violates the public’s trust will be held accountable.”

The FBI and AG’s office have been investigating the Water Works Board for months. Marshall said that Wednesday’s arrests were the result of the agencies working together.

A press release from the AG’s office also noted that the special grand jury in Jefferson County remains empaneled and the investigation ongoing.

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Investigators believe Jones funneled money — by way of payments and no-show jobs — through Williams and Global Solutions to be given to Lewis and her family members.

Lewis’ attorney, Brett Bloomston, said in a statement that Lewis denied the charges against her, is innocent and looks forward to her day in court.

“Sherry has lived her entire life in Birmingham,” Bloomston said. “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 BWW Board, where she has been a voice of reason and a watchdog for the citizens that are served by that board.”

Arcadis announced earlier in the week that it had fired Jones, citing an internal investigation that found he violated company policy.


Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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