Philly DA Seth Williams fined $62K for ethics violations

Philly DA Seth Williams fined $62K for ethics violations
Metro File

For receiving $160,050 in unreportedgifts, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams must pay $62,000 in penalties as part of a settlement with the city Ethics Board, the board announced Tuesday. Williams must also pay $2,840 for the value of the prohibited gifts he received, bringing the total he owes to nearly $65,000.

Williams’ fine is the largest ever imposed by the Philadelphia Ethics board since its founding a decade ago. It comes as the second-term district attorney is up reelection.

In August, the city’s top law enforcement officer divulged previously unreported gifts he had received, which included roof repairs, airfare,lodging and travel expensesfor foreign and domestic vacations, tickets to sports games and cash from friends from 2010 to 2015.

As part of the settlement, Williams admittedhe failed to report five sources of income and 89 gifts from 2010 to 2015. When the district attorney filed amended statements of financial interests in August, he failed to disclose 10 additional gifts that totaled more than $15,000.

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According to the Ethics Board, Williams, who took office seven years ago,also received 20 gifts from people whose financial interests Williams had the ability to improve through his position as district attorney.

City Ethics Code “prohibits a City officer from accepting monetary gifts in any amount or non-monetary gifts worth more than $99 in the aggregate per calendar from a person who (1) is seeking official action from that officer or (2) has a financial interest at the time, or in close proximity to the time, the gift is received that the officer is able to substantially affect through official action,” the board wrote in its report.

Five of those gifts were deemed prohibited, and totaled nearly $3,000:

–In 2014, Williams received $690 worth of Phillies and 76ers tickets and $750 in Visa cards from criminal defense attorney Scott DiClaudio, who was handling cases prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office; $200 in cash from Pierre Gomez, a subordinate employee of the D.A.’s office; and $200 in cash from Daniel Kearney, also a subordinate employee in the office.

–In 2015, criminal defense attorney Richard Hoy provided Williams $1,000 in lodging.

According to the board, Williams cooperated with the investigation, and must pay the $2,840 sum by April 30. He will owe an additional $2,500 by Dec. 31. Williams must pay at least $10,000 each following year until the full amount is paid back.