Williams pleads ‘no contest’ on charge of malfeasance

Staff Report

Former White Castle Mayor Gerald Jemarr Williams was issued a three-year probation sentence last week in district court after he pleaded no contest to a corruption charge.

Williams was arrested in April for an illegal reimbursement of $2,000 during his time in office. The charges included malfeasance in office, illegal use of a moveable and filing false public records.

Williams, 40, entered the no contest plea on the malfeasance charge as part of a plea bargain by 18th Judicial District Attorney Tony Clayton’s office in exchange for the plea on the felony charge.

His probationary sentence could be reduced to one year if he pays fines, but the felony charge will prohibit him from serving in public office again.

He declined comment upon leaving the Iberville Parish Courthouse.

Williams reimbursed himself $2,223.68 in December 2017, based on the findings of the state investigation. He paid himself the amount despite recommendations from the town’s attorney and auditor who said he shouldn’t be paid that amount.

He paid the money back after an outcry from residents.

His arrest followed an investigation by the Louisiana Bureau of Investigations on his activity while in office. The investigation began last fall at the request of Clayton and then-District Attorney Ricky Ward.

Gerald Jemarr Williams

Williams became a target of criticism in 2015 when he pushed for the Board of Aldermen to increase his salary from $28,000 to $50,835.

The sentencing marks the second time in less than a decade that a White Castle mayor went to court over improprieties while in office.

In 2012, former Mayor Maurice Brown was convicted for accepting a bribe while in office. He was one of several officials who were convicted as the result of the FBI sting “Operation Blighted Officials.”

Others convicted in the sting included former St. Gabriel Mayor George Grace, former Port Allen Mayor Derek Lewis and former New Roads Mayor Tommy Nelson – all of whom have since been released.