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August 19, 2016

After years of failing to disclose gifts, D.A. Seth Williams apologizes to staff for unwanted attention

In an email circulated Friday to his staff, District Attorney Seth Williams apologized for the negative attention they were getting after it was reported that he received $160,050 in previously undisclosed gifts over a five-year period.

Williams didn't apologize for taking the gifts, both personal and professional, however.

According to The Inquirer, Williams wrote: "I understand and recognize that each of you works very hard to represent the Commonwealth with integrity and honor."

He also said, "... The adverse publicity about me during this past week has likely made it more difficult for you to do that. I deeply regret and apologize to you for that."

The FBI questioned members of his staff along with one of his "gift-givers," according to The Inquirer. Though, it's not clear how many people the FBI has spoken to. 

During the five-year span, Williams accepted cash, gift cards, airfare, lodging and more. The costliest gift was a $45,000 roof repair on Williams' house.

A gift is a "payment, subscription, advance, forbearance, rendering or deposit of money, services or anything of value given to, or for the benefit of, an officer or employee, unless consideration of equal or greater value is received," according to Philadelphia’s Standards of Conduct and Ethics for officers and employees.

Political contributions aren't considered gifts, however.

Williams took office in 2010 and is expected to seek reelection next year.