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Embattled Civil Service Board chair says he won't step down despite felony arrest

10 months 3 days 13 hours ago Wednesday, September 20 2023 Sep 20, 2023 September 20, 2023 5:17 PM September 20, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - The embattled chairman of the Baton Rouge Municipal Police and Fire Civil Service Board who was arrested on felony charges this week told WBRZ Wednesday he will not step down from the position.

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Brandon Williams was arrested Tuesday, accused of taking a person who was building a house for a ride. Investigators said he took $600,000 from the victim, but left him high and dry. That victim had to hire another contractor to come in and complete the job.

Williams was first nominated to the board by LSU in 2019. He was removed from the board after a discrepancy was discovered with his address. He was placed back on the board by the Metro Council.

Williams is also facing a separate felony theft arrest that he's scheduled to go to trial for in December.

When reached by phone, Williams said he could not comment on the situation, but said there was much to the story that would be coming out soon. He said emphatically that he would not step down from the Civil Service Board or the Louisiana Housing Corp Board that he also sits on.

Jill Craft is a Baton Rouge attorney who has gone before the Civil Service Board numerous times representing various clients.

"The problem is when you are dealing with someone who is making decisions about officer discipline, you worry about if there is any prejudice associated with that," Craft said.

There is a mechanism to get Williams removed. It involves a legal process that District Attorney Hillar Moore would need to initiate after 25 citizens request the removal of the board member. That can be done due to misconduct, incompetence or corruption.

Moore told WBRZ Wednesday that would require a conviction. But, the state examiner over the board said that's not the case. Craft also agrees that a conviction is not needed to get Williams off the board.

"My question is we live in a time where there is such dissension, why wouldn't you want a breath of fresh air," Craft asked. "Reach out to people who haven't served on this board. There are a lot of people who are willing to step up to the plate and make a difference a change. Do something. It worries me when you have such institutional engrained in the process. Pick someone new."

The WBRZ Investigative Unit has also learned that Williams is the focus of another ongoing legal dispute. Williams named the city of Baton Rouge in a lawsuit last year after members of the metro council questioned whether he can hold two spots in public office, citing his Civil Service Board appointment and his spot on the Louisiana Housing Corporation board.

In April, a judge sided with Williams, ruling that he was not violating a state law that forbids holding multiple positions in public office. Parish attorneys filed an appeal this month looking to have that ruling overturned.

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