Docket No. 508
In the Matter of Benjamin Nutter
October 24, 1994
This Disposition Agreement ("Agreement") is entered into
between the State Ethics Commission ("Commission") and Benjamin
Nutter ("Nutter") 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,
On July 12, 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 Nutter. The
Commission has concluded its inquiry and, on October 11, 1994,
found reasonable cause to believe that Nutter violated G.L. c.
The Commission and Nutter now agree to the following findings
of fact and conclusions of law:
1. Nutter was, during the time relevant, a member of the
Topsfield Historic Commission ("Historic Commission"). As such,
Nutter was a
municipal employee as that term is defined in G.L. c. 268A, s.1.
2. At all times relevant hereto, Nutter was a licensed
architect in the state of Massachusetts and had an office in
Topsfield. During 1992, Nutter provided architectural services to
Tim and Susan Ward in connection with an addition for their home
located on Main Street in Topsfield ("Addition"). Those services
included preparing drawings for the Addition.
3. On October 14, 1992, at the Historic Commission meeting,
the Wards submitted an application for a Certificate of
Appropriateness ("Certificate") for the Addition. The application
included the drawings prepared by Nutter mentioned above. Nutter
appeared with the Wards, as their architect, in connection with the
Certificate and discussed the project.
4. On November 4, 1992, Nutter appeared with the Wards, as
their architect, in connection with a public hearing before the
Historic Commission relating to the Addition. Nutter participated
in the discussion of the Certificate, but abstained on the vote.
The Historic Commission voted to approve the Certificate.
5. G.L c. 268A, s.17(c) prohibits a municipal employee,
otherwise than in the proper discharge of his official duties, from
acting as agent for a private party in connection with any
particular matter in which his town has a direct and substantial
6. The decision whether to approve the Certificate was a
particular matter. The town had an obvious direct and substantial
interest in that particular matter. By acting as the Wards' agent
before the Historic Commission concerning their Certificate as set
out in the foregoing paragraphs, Nutter violated G.L. c. 268A,
In view of the foregoing violations of G.L. c. 268A by Nutter,
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 Nutter:
(1) that he, in the future, refrain from acting as agent
for private parties in connection with particular matters
in which the town of Topsfield has a direct and
substantial interest, as prohibited by G.L. c. 268A,
(2) that he pay to the Commission the sum of one
thousand dollars ($1,000.00) as a civil penalty for the
violations of G.L. c. 268A, s.17(c); and
(3) that he 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.