Docket No. 525
In the Matter of Lee Robinson
November 17, 1995
This Disposition Agreement ("Agreement") is entered into
between the State Ethics Commission ("Commission") and Lee
Robinson ("Robinson") pursuant to s.5 of the Commission's
Enforcement Procedures. This Agreement constitutes a consented
to final order enforceable in the Superior Court, pursuant to
G.L. c. 268B, s.4(j).
On March 30, 1994, 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 Robinson. The Commission has concluded its inquiry and,
on April 11, 1995, found reasonable cause to believe that
Robinson violated G.L. c. 268A.
The Commission and Robinson now agree to the following
findings of fact and conclusions of law:
1. Robinson was, during the time relevant, a Selectman of
the Town of Provincetown. As such, Robinson was a municipal
employee as that term is defined in G.L. c. 268A, s.1.
2. On July 23, 1990, the Selectmen voted to designate
themselves as non-voting "ex-officio" members of town boards.
3. On April 7, 1992, Robinson submitted an application for
a special permit in the name of the A&P to the Provincetown
Zoning Board of Appeals ("ZBA") and the Provincetown Licensing
Board, based upon his intentions to lease and operate the A&P's
unused parking lot for the purpose of providing parking to summer
4. On June 4, 1992, the ZBA voted to draft a decision to
grant Robinson's special permit.
5. On June 18, 1992, the ZBA considered Robinson's
application at a public hearing. Robinson was asked to attend
and to submit certain documentation concerning the permit. With
the chairperson's consent, Robinson spoke in support of his
application. After the public hearing session ended, debate
among the ZBA members over the permit application continued. In
response to a comment made during the debate, Robinson stated
that he could speak. He stated that as a Selectman, he is an ex-
officio member of the ZBA and could participate in its
deliberations, even those that are closed to the public. The
chairperson allowed Robinson to provide input into the debate.
6. On July 3, 1992, the Provincetown Licensing Board
considered Robinson's application for license to operate the
parking lot. With the chairperson's consent, Robinson spoke in
support of his application. After the public hearing session
ended, Robinson requested to speak. He stated that as a
Selectman, he is an ex-officio member of the Licensing Board and
could participate in its deliberations, even those that are
closed to the public. The chairperson denied Robinson's request
7. Robinson operated the parking lot from approximately
late July of 1992 until early summer of 1993, and no longer
operates or has any interest in the parking lot. During the
brief period of operation, he made no profit and incurred an
after-expense loss on the venture.
8. Robinson is no longer a Selectman, nor does he hold any
other municipal position in Provincetown or elsewhere.
9. Section 23(b)(2) of G.L. c. 268A prohibits a municipal
employee from using or attempting to use his position to obtain
an unwarranted privilege of substantial value which is not
properly available to similarly situated individuals.
10. The ability to speak during ZBA and Licensing Board
deliberations on his own application, when others could not, was
a privilege of substantial value because it could enhance
Robinson's chances of obtaining the potentially valuable permit
and license he was seeking. The opportunity for further advocacy
was not properly available to other permit/license applicants.
11. By invoking his ex-officio member status in order to
speak or attempt to speak during ZBA and Licensing Board
deliberations on his own application where others could not,
Robinson used or attempted to use his Selectman's position to
obtain an unwarranted privilege of substantial value, not
properly available to other similarly situated individuals, in
violation of s.23(b)(2).
In view of the foregoing violations of G.L. c. 268A by
Robinson, 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 Robinson:
that Robinson 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 party.
 Mr. Robinson asserts that in both instances he intended
to address the procedures used in the handling of the
application, which he saw as a matter of public concern.
 See footnote 1.
 The Commission is authorized to impose a fine of up to
$2,000 for each violation of G.L. c. 268A. The Commission,
however, believes that no fine is appropriate here. Robinson's
comments were spontaneous and of limited duration. Furthermore,
Robinson is no longer a Selectman nor does he now have any
financial interest in the parking lot.