Records appear to show former Dayton Commissioner Williams omitted debt on state ethics filings

The indictment this week of former Dayton city commissioner Joey Williams on bribery charges has brought scrutiny on his financial disclosure forms that he was required to file while in office.

A review of Williams’ Ohio Ethics Commission filings that he made while in office carry no mention of a large lawsuit that he and other investors faced while he was in office.

In December 2009, Williams, his wife Natasha Williams and six others were sued by Fifth Third Bank over default on the small business loan. The suit sought $726,804, plus $113,039 in interest and fees, according to Montgomery County Common Pleas Court records. But Williams’ financial disclosure reports filed annually with the Ohio Ethics Commission contain no mention of the suit or the debt.

Related: Dayton city commissioner named in loan default case

State law requires certain public officials to disclose any creditors they owe more than $1,000 to at any point in a calendar year.

Williams’ attorney, Pat Hanley, could not be immediately reached for comment.

The loan was to open a Popeye’s Chicken & Biscuit restaurant at 5800 Wilmington Pike in Centerville. The restaurant has since closed.

The Williams’ wages were garnished for years because of the lawsuit and the lien against them was released June 14, 2013, according to Montgomery County court records.

Related: Ex-Dayton city commissioner, ex-state lawmaker arrested; more arrests coming, feds say

Williams’ Financial Disclosure Statements for 2009 through 2013 do not list Fifth Third Bank as a creditor.

Ohio Ethics Commission General Counsel Matt Lampke said the disclosure law aims to give the public transparency in understanding any conflicts a public official may have. Whether the commission has received a complaint or has opened an investigation is confidential under state law.

About 13,000 elected officials and public servants in Ohio are required to file annual financial disclosure statements with the state ethics commission. Lawmakers and legislative staff file disclosures with the Joint Legislative Ethics Committee.

Disclosures include information such as sources of income, gifts, fiduciary relationships, paid travel, business ownership interests, investments, family relationships and creditors and debtors. The deadline to file 2018 statements is May 15.

Williams, an executive with KeyBank, was among four Dayton men indicted this week on public corruption charges in U.S. District Court. All four are pleading not guilty.

Williams is accused of asking for and receiving construction of a patio at his Dayton home at a discounted price in return for exerting influence so city contracts went to a certain company.

The indictments led a federal prosecutor to say that their investigation found a ‘culture of corruption’ in the Dayton area, and that more indictments would soon be revealed.

About the Author