Docket No. 580

In the Matter of Robert Muzik

Date: January 20, 1999


DISPOSITION AGREEMENT


The State Ethics Commission ("Commission") and Robert Muzik
("Muzik") enter into this Disposition Agreement ("Agreement")
pursuant to Section 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. 26813, s.40).

On March 12, 1997, the Commission initiated, pursuant to G.L.
c. 26813, s.40), a preliminary inquiry into possible violations of
the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, by Muzik. The
Commission has concluded its inquiry and, on August 5, 1997, found
reasonable cause to believe that Muzik violated G.L. c. 268A, s.3.

The Commission and Muzik now agree to the following findings
of fact and conclusions of law:

1. Muzik was, during the time relevant, a limousine
company owner who regularly used the Woods Hole, Martha's Vineyard
and Nantucket Steamship Authority's ("Steam ship Authority")
ferries to transport his limousine and his clients between Woods
Hole and Martha's Vineyard.

2. The responsibility for loading vehicles onto ferries
rests with the Steamship Authority terminal agent or assistant
terminal agent on duty. That person, following United States Coast
Guard regulations, determines the vehicle load configuration for a
particular departure. Thus, the number of vehicles loaded onto a
given ferry fluctuates depending on the size and weight of the
vehicles, such as tractor-trailers, trucks, construction vehicles,
buses, and large and small passenger vehicles. In most cases, the
terminal agent or assistant terminal agent on duty can adjust the
configuration to accommodate additional vehicles.

3. Ferry use greatly increases during the summer months.
Customers with vehicles can secure reservations in advance for a
specific departure date and time. Reservations for the summer
usually sell out by mid-February. The number of reservations
accepted per departure is limited due to uncertainty regarding the
number of vehicles that will actually be allowed onto the ferry
(due to vehicle size and weight differences). At the time relevant herein,
passengers (with vehicles) without reservations
during peak usage periods were allowed passage on a standby, first
come-first-served basis, after passengers with reservations and
those with special circumstances. [1/]

During peak ferry usage, it was not uncommon for standby
passengers to have to wait many hours to secure passage. [2/]

4. During peak usage periods, Muzik would attempt to
secure return trip reservations at the Woods Hole terminal by
calling one of the assistant terminal agents directly, as opposed
to calling the Steamship Authority reservations number. On at least
some occasions, he could not secure a return trip reservation for
his limousine. If a standby list was in effect, Muzik would either
have to persuade the terminal agent or assistant terminal agent on
duty to allow his limousine on the ferry as a special circumstance,
or he would have to send his client on the ferry as a walk-on
passenger while Muzik waited with the vehicle as a standby
passenger, in which case Muzik would arrange for alternate
transportation for the client when the ferry docked at Martha's
Vineyard.

5. In June 1993, Muzik gave a $200.00 gift certificate to
a Woods Hole assistant terminal agent and his wife. When Muzik did
so, the assistant terminal agent had performed and was expected to
continue to perform official acts regarding passage for steamship
passengers and vehicles, including Muzik, his clients and
limousine. Muzik had no private, social or business relationship
with either the assistant terminal agent or his spouse.

6. The assistant terminal agent turned the gift
certificate over to the Steamship Authority's general counsel, who
returned the gift to Muzik with a letter warning Muzik that the
gift violated the conflict of interest law.

7. In or about December 1995, Muzik sent another Woods
Hole assistant terminal agent a Christmas card containing a $50.00
bill. When Muzik did so, the assistant terminal agent had
performed, and was expected to continue to perform official acts
regarding passage for steamship passengers, including Muzik, his
clients and limousine. Muzik had no private, business or social
relationship with this assistant terminal agent. Upon receiving
this gratuity, the assistant terminal agent immediately turned it
over to the Authority's general counsel.

8. Section 3(a) of G.L. c. 268A prohibits, otherwise than
provided by law, the giving or offering of anything of substantial
value to any public official for or because of any official act or
acts performed or to be performed by such employee. [3/ 4/]

9. The $200.00 gift certificate and the $50.00 cash
gratuity were items of substantial value.

10. The Steamship Authority assistant terminal

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agents are public employees.

11. Muzik gave the $200.00 gift certificate and the
$50.00 cash gratuity to these public employees for or because of an
official act or acts performed or to be performed by those public
employees. In doing so, Muzik violated s.3(a).

In view of the foregoing violations of G.L. c. 268A by
Muzik, 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 Muzik:

(1) that Muzik pay to the Commission the sum of five
hundred dollars ($500.00) as a civil penalty for
violating G.L. c. 268A, s.3(a); and

(2) that Muzik waive all rights to contest the findings
of fact, conclusions of law and terms and conditions in
this Agreement in this or any other related
administrative or judicial proceeding to which the
Commission is or may be a party.

-----------------

1/ Special circumstances usually involve medical circumstances or
family emergencies.

2/ The standby procedure was eliminated in 1997.

3/ The Commission considers anything with a value of $50.00 or more
to constitute "substantial value" for s.3 purpose. See, e.g., In re
Scaccia, 1996 SEC 83 8.

4/ The Commission considers anything with a value of $50.00 or more
to constitute "substantial value" for s.3 purpose. See, e.g., In re
Scaccia, 1996 SEC 838.

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End of Decision