Docket No. 536
In the Matter of Jerold Gnazzo
November 14, 1995
The State Ethics Commission ("Commission") and Jerold Gnazzo
("Gnazzo") enter into this Disposition Agreement ("Agreement")
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 September 14, 1993, the Commission initiated, pursuant to
G.L. c. 268B, s.4(j), a preliminary inquiry into possible
violations of the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, by
Gnazzo. The Commission has concluded its inquiry and, on May 9,
1995, found reasonable cause to believe that Gnazzo violated G.L.
The Commission and Gnazzo now agree to the following
findings of fact and conclusions of law:
1. At all times material to this matter, Gnazzo was the
Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles ("RMV") Registrar. As
such, he was a state employee within the meaning of G.L. c. 268A,
2. At all times material to this matter, Gnazzo's wife,
Jane S. Gnazzo ("Jane"), was the president of Krisco Corporation.
Krisco Corporation owned and operated a MAACO Autobody shop
located at 444 Somerville Avenue in Somerville, Massachusetts.
According to Gnazzo, neither Jane nor Gnazzo had an ownership
interest in Krisco Corporation.
3. In the fall of 1992, the Massachusetts Attorney
General's ("AG") Environmental Strike Force ("Strike Force"),
working closely with the Division of Environmental Law
Enforcement ("DELE") of the Executive Office of Environmental
Affairs, commenced a criminal investigation into alleged
illegal hazardous waste transfers at the above Somerville MAACO
4. On or about April 28, 1993, in furtherance of this
investigation, the Strike Force issued a subpoena duces tecum to
the "Keeper of the Records, Krisco Inc." at 444 Somerville
Avenue, Somerville, Massachusetts.
5. Jane was furnished with a copy of the subpoena either
by mail or by facsimile at her usual place of business.
6. Gnazzo obtained a copy of the above subpoena from his
7. The subpoena did not identify the Strike Force. The
names of an assistant attorney general and an environmental
police officer were identified on the subpoena.
8. Having assumed the subpoena had been authorized by
DELE, on or about May 5, 1993, Gnazzo telephoned the DELE
director and asked him to come to his office. When the DELE
director arrived at Gnazzo's office, Gnazzo showed him the Strike
Force subpoena. The DELE director informed Gnazzo of the
relationship between DELE and the Strike Force.
9. Gnazzo explained to the DELE director that he, Gnazzo,
knew that there had been an ongoing investigation into matters
related to the disposal of paints and other hazardous substances
at the Somerville MAACO shop, but that he, Gnazzo, understood
that the situation had been investigated and that he, Gnazzo,
believed the matter was being resolved administratively. Gnazzo
further explained that he was concerned that the subpoena had
targeted his wife, and through her Gnazzo himself, solely for
10. Gnazzo asked the DELE director to find out whether the
case had substance or if it was politically motivated. The DELE
director agreed to do this.
11. Gnazzo did all of the foregoing on behalf of his wife
and the Krisco Corporation (his wife was still named Krisco
12. Later that same day, the DELE director telephoned a
DELE State Police lieutenant assigned to the Strike Force and
asked to see her at his office. The DELE director was the DELE
lieutenant's supervisor. When the DELE lieutenant arrived at the
DELE director's office, the DELE director handed her a copy of
the MAACO subpoena he had received from Gnazzo. The DELE
director related to the DELE lieutenant the information Gnazzo
had told him, and expressed Gnazzo's concern that the DELE case
against Krisco Corporation and Jane was politically motivated.
13. The DELE lieutenant told the DELE director that the
investigation was substantive and was not motivated by politics.
14. The DELE director thereafter returned to Gnazzo's
office, where the DELE director told Gnazzo what the DELE
lieutenant had said. The DELE director and Gnazzo both testified
that Gnazzo did not ask the DELE director to take any additional
15. On August 11, 1993, the AG's office announced an
indictment against the Somerville MAACO shop, arising out of the
alleged illegal disposal of paints and other hazardous substances
used in the day-to-day operation of the auto body shop.
16. Jane was not named in the indictment.
17. Section 4(c) of G.L. c. 268A prohibits a state employee
from acting as agent for anyone other than the Commonwealth or a
state agency in connection
with any particular matter in which the Commonwealth or state
agency is a party or has a direct and substantial interest.
18. The Strike Force's determination to conduct a criminal
investigation into alleged illegal hazardous waste transfers at
the Somerville MAACO shop was a particular matter in which the
Commonwealth was a party or had a direct and substantial
interest. When Gnazzo made inquiries to the DELE director in
relation to the investigation on behalf of his wife and the
Krisco Corporation, he acted as agent for someone other than the
Commonwealth in connection with a particular matter in which the
Commonwealth was a party. Therefore, Gnazzo violated G.L. c.
19. Section 4 reflects the maxim that a person cannot serve
two masters. Whenever a state employee acts on behalf of private
interests in matters in which the state also has an interest,
there is a potential for divided loyalties, the use of insider
information and favoritism, all at the expense of the state. See
generally EC-COI-92-4; 82-176. An inquiry into an ongoing
sensitive criminal investigation raises such concerns, especially
when made by a high-ranking public official like the RMV
20. Gnazzo cooperated with the Commission's investigation.
In view of the foregoing violation of G.L. c. 268A by
Gnazzo, 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 Gnazzo:
(1) that Gnazzo pay to the Commission the sum of five
hundred dollars ($500) as a civil penalty for violating
G.L. c. 268A, s.4(c);
(2) that Gnazzo 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.
 At all times materials to this matter, Jane maintained a
usual place of business at 450 Albany Street, Boston,
Massachusetts. According to Gnazzo, Jane had no knowledge of or
responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the auto body
repair business at the Somerville MAACO shop.
 DELE officers are assigned to the AG Strike Force. The
Strike Force investigates environmental violations allegations
and works with the AG through prosecution. The Strike Force
officers report to AG personnel but continue to be subject to a
certain amount of control and supervision by DELE.
 Gnazzo and the DELE director had their offices in the
same building on Nashua Street in Boston.
 "Particular matter," any judicial or other proceeding,
application, submission, request for a ruling or other
determination, contract, claim, controversy, charge, accusation,
arrest, decision, determination, finding, but excluding enactment
of general legislation by the general court and petitions of
cities, towns, counties and districts for special laws related to
their governmental organizations, powers, duties, finances and
property. G.L. c. 268A, s.1(k).
 A state employee, however, is not prevented from acting
as agent for or otherwise aiding or assisting members of his
immediate family, provided the state employee receives the prior
approval of the state official responsible for having made the
appointment to the position held by the state employee in
question. See G.L. c. 268A, s.4(c). The Registrar is appointed
by the Governor. This was not done by Gnazzo.
Even if Gnazzo had obtained the Governor's approval before
acting, he would have nevertheless violated s.4 because the
exemption would not apply to inquiries made on behalf of Krisco