Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, failed to disclose on a mandatory ethics report that his wife, a state judge, leases part of a building she owns in Russell Springs to the state Administrative Office of the Courts for $8,386 a year.
Since February 2008, District Judge Robyn Williams has leased 953 square feet to the AOC for the local office of a colleague, Family Court Judge Jennifer Upchurch Clark, who serves in Russell and Wayne counties. Robyn Williams keeps her own local office in the building, but she said she is prohibited from charging rent for her office.
In David Williams' annual financial-disclosure report, filed Feb. 8 with the Legislative Branch Ethics Commission, he listed the office building among his family's assets. But he failed to disclose the state's rent payments as income for him or his wife, as required by law.
The ethics commission called David Williams to inquire about it Wednesday, shortly after the Herald-Leader asked ethics officials about the omission.
Never miss a local story.
It was an accidental oversight, the senator said in a later interview.
"Tomorrow I'm going to amend the report," he said. "We will list it."
Robyn Williams said she inherited the Russell Springs building from her grandfather and used it as her law office before Gov. Ernie Fletcher appointed her to the bench in 2004 to serve in Russell, Wayne and Clinton counties.
In 2007, the AOC advertised for additional office space within three blocks of the Russell County courthouse. Robyn Williams was the only property owner to respond, said AOC spokeswoman Jamie Ball.
Judges are entitled to lease private property to the AOC, Ball said.
"There must not be a rule disallowing it because it's being done," Ball said.
Robyn Williams said the state is getting a good deal.
"The rent, I think it's pretty reasonable myself for all that space," the judge said. "It is certainly not a money-making thing for me."
In September, the AOC broke ground on a $12 million courthouse in Russell County. When it's completed, it will have offices for all judges, Ball said.