Philly DA to pay $62,000 penalty in ethics violations

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams speaks. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams speaks. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams will pay thousands of dollars in fines to settle ethics charges over failing to properly disclose gifts over a five-year period.

Shane Creamer of the City Ethics Board said Williams agreed to the largest-ever ethics settlement with the city — about $62,000.

“This settlement agreement with District Attorney Seth Williams resolves violations by him for failing to disclose gifts and sources of income on his city financial interest statements from 2010 to 2015,” Creamer said.

As part of the agreement, Creamer said, Williams will give the city the cash equivalent of several gifts he accepted that are prohibited under campaign finance regulations.

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“There was a total of 89 gifts that he disclosed over the course of the six years,” Creamer said Tuesday. “We disclosed an additional 10 that were not part of the disclosure last year and addressed them separately.”

Some of those improper gifts included $690 in Phillies and 76ers tickets from a criminal defense attorney;  $750 in Visa gift cards from that same defense attorney; and $400 in cash from two subordinates in the district attorney’s office.

A statement from Williams said the mistakes were his own and that he accepts full responsibility for failing to do everything that was required of him as a public official.

Williams, a Democrat, apologized to the city, prosecutors, supporters and family members and vowed to “work every day” to earn back their “trust and respect.”

The deal includes the right to go after personal assets if the money is not paid, said Creamer, and a reopener clause if another law enforcement agency finds other gifts that are in violation of the city code.



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