IN THE MATTER OF LOWELL L. RICHARDS, III
Date: February 13, 1984
This disposition agreement ("agreement") is entered into between
the State Ethics Commission
("Commission") and Lowell L. Richards, III ("Mr. Richards")
pursuant to section 11 of the Commission's Enforcement Procedures.
This agreement constitutes a consented to final order of the
Commission enforceable in superior court under G.L. c. 268B,
On July 19, 1983, the Commission initiated a preliminary inquiry
into possible violations of G.L. c. 268A, s.23, by Mr. Richards,
Collector Treasurer of the City of Boston ("City"). The Commission
concluded that preliminary inquiry and, on December 13, 1983, found
reasonable cause to believe that Mr. Richards had violated chapter
The parties hereto, being desirous of reaching an agreement that
satisfies the public interests and those of the parties, and no
order to show cause having been issued and no hearings having been
held with respect to these matters, hereby agree to the following
finding of fact and conclusions of law:
1. Mr. Richards is Collector Treasurer of the City of Boston
("City') and, as such, a municipal employee, as that term is
defined in G.L. c. 268A, s.1(g).
2. In addition to his responsibilities as Collector Treasurer,
Mr. Richards also served as City Parking Clerk and deputy Parking
Clerk during the 1981-83 period. In this capacity, he had authority
to dismiss parking tickets.
3. In January or early February 1983, Mr. Richards dismissed 21
of 25 parking tickets owed by Colleen McGee ("Ms. McGee"), daughter
of Speaker Thomas McGee, on a car registered in her name. This
represented a release of $420 of her $500 liability to the City.
4. In early February 1983, Mr. Richards dismissed 27 of 39
tickets Ms. McGee owed on another car she had been using, a car
registered in her brother's name. This represented a release of
$540 of her $789 liability to the City.
5. Mr. Richards has been unable to explain why he dismissed some
of these tickets and those reasons are not apparent. The records
of the dismissals do not provide legitimate reasons supporting some
of these dismissals.* According to Ms. McGee, she did not tell Mr.
Richards or anyone else why her tickets should be dismissed. As a
result, it appears that Mr. Richards dismissed some of the tickets
owed by Ms. McGee because she was the daughter of Speaker McGee.
6. Section 23 (paragraph 2)(3) prohibits a public official from
giving reasonable basis for the impression that any person can
improperly influence or unduly enjoy his favor in the performance
of his official duties, or that he is unduly affected by the
kinship, rank, position or influence of any party or person.
7. By dismissing parking tickets for the daughter of a powerful
Massachusetts political figure without legitimate reasons apparent
for some of these dismissals, Mr. Richards gave reasonable basis
for the impression that her family connections had unduly and
improperly influenced his decisions, thereby violating
In light of the foregoing, the Commission has determined that
the public interest would be served by terminating this matter
without further enforcement proceedings or the imposition of a
civil penalty. In deciding not to impose a fine, the Commission has
taken into consideration the following factors: Mr. Richards
obtained no personal benefit or financial gain from dismissing
these tickets; and dismissals under these circumstances appear to
have been the exception rather than the rule in Mr. Richards'
handling of tickets.
In disposing of this matter by means of this disposition
agreement, Mr. Richards has agreed to waive all rights to contest
the findings of fact, conclusions of law and terms and conditions
contained in this agreement in this or any related administrative
or judicial proceeding to which the Commission is a party.
* Construing the facts favorably to Mr. Richards, of the 48 tickets
dismissed, there is no explanation for 23 of these dismissals. That
is, of the other 25 tickets dismissed, 21 lacked a street number
identifying the location of the violation and were therefore
incomplete; 3 misidentified the make of the car; and 1 was issued
before 1980. Each of these 3 reasons for dismissal was used
regularly by Mr. Richards in making decisions to dismiss tickets.
On the other hand, where Ms. McGee did not plead her case, no
reason for dismissal regularly used by Mr. Richards is apparent for
the other 23 dismissals.
End Of Decision