Docket No. 647
In the Matter of Adelle Reynolds
November 20, 2001
This Disposition Agreement is entered into between the State
Ethics Commission and Adelle Reynolds pursuant to Section 5 of the
Commission's Enforcement Procedures. This Agreement constitutes a
consented-to final order enforceable in Superior Court, pursuant to
G.L. c. 268B, s.40).
On May 8, 2001, the Commission initiated, pursuant to G.L. c.
268B, s.4(a), a preliminary inquiry into possible violations of the
conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, by Reynolds. The Commission
has concluded its inquiry and, on November 13, 2001, found
reasonable cause to believe that Reynolds violated G.L. c. 268A,
The Commission and Reynolds now agree to the following
findings of fact and conclusions of law:
Findings of Fact
1. Since July 1997 Reynolds has been the Town of Douglas
full-time building inspector.
2. Between July 1997 and January 2000, Reynolds issued
building pen-nits and conducted all inspections pursuant to those
3. GBI Builders ("GBI") in Douglas has been engaged in the
modular home business for 30 years. GBI sells pre-fabricated,
modular houses to customers. Typically, the customer owns the site
and contracts with GBI to prepare the site, build a foundation, and
then place an agreed upon modular home on that foundation.
4. Reynolds, as the building inspector, conducted the
inspections of the foundation and stairs of the modular homes GBI
sold in Douglas.
5. Between September 1998 and January 2000, Reynolds approved
8 GBI building permit applications and performed at least 17
inspections of GBI homes in Douglas.
6. In late 1998, Reynolds approached Louis Tascino, owner of
GBI, and asked him to build Reynolds and her parents a modular home
on a lot Reynolds owned in the town of Webster. Tascino informally
agreed and quoted Reynolds a price.
7. On July 21, 1999, GBI submitted a written proposal to
Reynolds that stated that GBI would build Reynolds and her parents
a modular Cape Style house with "extras" for $144,000, excluding
the price of the land. GBI was scheduled to complete the house on
the Webster lot in November 1999.
8. In January 2000 the modular home was finished and Reynolds,
with her parents, bought the house at the agreed price. The
purchase price was consistent with the prices of similar modular
homes built by GBI.
9. As noted above, between Reynolds initial conversation with
GBI's owner regarding the modular house in the fall or winter 1998
until she moved into her home in January 2000, Reynolds approved at
least eight GBI building permit applications and performed at least
17 inspections of GBI homes in Douglas. (Reynolds was the building
inspector in the town of Douglas and therefore she did not have any
jurisdiction over, nor did she perform any, inspections of her GBI
modular home built in the town of Webster.)
10. Reynolds never made a public, written disclosure to the
board of selectmen of her private commercial arrangements with GBI.
According to members of the Board of Selectmen and the town
administrator, however, they were aware of Reynolds' private
commercial arrangement with GBI.
Conclusions of Law
11. As a building inspector, Reynolds was during the relevant
time a municipal employee as that term is defined in G.L. c. 268A,
12. Section 23(b)(3) of G.L. c. 268A prohibits a municipal
employee from knowingly, or with reason to know, acting in a manner
which would cause a reasonable person, having knowledge of the
relevant circumstances, to conclude that any person can improperly
influence or unduly enjoy his favor in the performance of his
official duties, or that he is likely to act or fall to act as a
result of kinship, rank, position or undue influence of any party
or person. It shall be unreasonable to so conclude if such officer
or employee has disclosed in writing to his appointing authority
or, if no appointing authority exists, discloses in a manner which
is public in nature, the facts which would otherwise lead to such
13. By approving 8 GBI building permit applications and
performing at least 17 inspections of GBI homes in Douglas during
the period that Reynolds was in discussions with GBI about building
her and her parents a $144,000 modular home or GBI was building
that home, Reynolds knowingly or with reason to know, acted in a
manner which would cause a reasonable person, having knowledge of
all the relevant circumstances, to conclude that GBI could unduly
enjoy Reynolds' favor in the performance of her official duties.
Therefore, in so acting, Reynolds violated G.L. c. 268A,
In view of the foregoing violations of G.L. c. 268A by
Reynolds, the Commission has determined that the public interest
would be served by the disposition of this matter without further
enforcement proceedings, on the basis of the following terms and
conditions agreed to by Reynolds:
(1) that Reynolds pay to the Commission the sum of $ 1,000 as
a civil penalty for violating G.L. c. 268A, s.23(b)(3); and
(2) that Reynolds waive all rights to contest the findings of
fact, conclusions of law and terms and conditions contained in
this Agreement in this or any other related administrative or
judicial proceedings to which the Commission is or may be a