Docket No. 457
In the Matter of John Forristall
October 21, 1992
This Disposition Agreement (Agreement) is entered into
between the State Ethics Commission (Commission) and John
Forristall (Mr. Forristall) pursuant to s.5 of the Commission's
Enforcement Procedures. This Agreement constitutes a consented to
final Commission order enforceable in the Superior Court pursuant
to G.L. c. 268B, s.4(j).
On May 31, 1990, 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 Mr. Forristall.
The Commission has concluded its inquiry and, on March 12, 1992,
by a majority vote, found reasonable cause to believe that Mr.
Forristall violated G.L. c. 268A. The Commission and Mr.
Forristall now agree to the following findings of fact and
conclusions of the law:
1. Mr. Forristall was, during the time here relevant, a
member of the Town of Winthrop Recreation Commission. As such, he
was a municipal employee as that term is defined in G.L. c. 268A,
s.1(g). Mr. Forristall was Recreation Commission Chairman between
1986 and 1989. In July, 1989, he was not reappointed as a
Recreation Commission member.
2. The Recreation Commission is a part-time, six member
board appointed by the board of selectmen to oversee the
operation of the Recreation Department.
3. During the time here relevant, Mr. Forristall worked for
Lamco Chemical Company (Lamco), a business located in Chelsea.
Lamco manufactures janitorial supplies. Mr. Forristall was
employed by Lamco as a salesman. He received a weekly salary, and
on average, a 15% commission on any sales he made.
4. Between July 1, 1985 and June 30, 1989, the Town of
Winthrop Recreation Commission purchased approximately $7,500 in
goods from Lamco.
5. Mr. Forristall was the salesman for Lamco on all of the
above sales. Mr. Forristall earned approximately $1,125 in
commission on these sales.
6. Recreation Commission purchases occurred as follows: The
Recreation Commission, with Mr. Forristall participating, would
decide what janitorial supplies they needed. The Recreation
Commission would then issue a purchase order to Lamco. A
Recreation Commission designee would sign the purchase order.
Lamco would deliver the product, with someone from the Recreation
Commission signing the packing slip indicating receipt. Lamco
would then send an invoice for payment to the Recreation
Commission. The Recreation Commission would review and approve
the invoice. A Recreation Commission designee would sign the
invoice indicating it was approved by the Recreation Commission
for payment. The invoice would then be placed on a schedule of
bills payable by the Recreation Commission, which schedule would
be signed by a member of the Recreation Commission indicating the
Commission had approved all of the bills for payment. The
schedule of bills along with the supporting bills themselves
would go to the Board of Selectmen for approval and ultimate
7. Mr. Forristall was substantially involved as a Recreation
Commission member in virtually every decision by the Commission
to purchase goods from Lamco or pay Lamco bills. In addition, the
majority of the Recreation Commission/Lamco purchase orders,
packing slips, invoices, and schedules of bills payable
(including Lamco invoices) were signed by Forristall as
Recreation Commission Chairman.
8. Except as otherwise permitted in that section, G. L.
c. 268A, s.19 in relevant part prohibits a municipal employee
from participating as such in a particular matter in which to his
knowledge he or a business organization by which he is employed
has a financial interest.
9. The various decisions and determinations by the
Recreation Commission to purchase goods from Lamco, to signify
the receipt of those goods, and to pay for those goods, were all
10. Inasmuch as Mr. Forristall either collectively with
other commissioners or individually made those purchasing and
payment decisions, he participated in these particular
11. Inasmuch as he made a commission on each sale and his
employer, Lamco, made a profit on each sale, both he and a
business organization by which he was employed had a financial
interest in those particular matters. Mr. Forristall was, of
course, aware of those financial interests at the time he so
participated as described in 110.
12. Therefore, by participating in the purchasing and
payment decisions as described above, Mr. Forristall repeatedly
participated in particular matters as a Recreation Commission
member in which to his knowledge either he or a business
organization by which he was employed had a financial interest,
thereby violating s.19.
In view of the foregoing violations of G.L. c. 268A by Mr.
Forristall, 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 Mr. Forristall:
1. that Mr. Forristall pay to the Commission the sum of
$1,500 as a civil penalty for violating G.L. c. 268A, s.19;
2. that Mr. Forristall disgorge the economic benefit he
received by violating G.L. c. 268A, s.19, namely the $1,125
in commissions he earned; and
3. that Mr. Forristall 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 proceeding to which the
Commission is or may be a party.
 For example, of the 18 Recreation Commission/Lamco
packing slips that were found in the town's records, 11 were
signed by Mr. Forristall. Of the 53 Recreation Commission/Lamco
invoices, Mr. Forristall signed 30.
 None of the exceptions applies here.
 "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).
 "Participate," participate in agency action or in a
particular matter personally and substantially as a state, county
or municipal employee, through approval, disapproval, decision,
recommendation, the rendering of advice, investigation or
otherwise. G.L. c. 268A, s.1(j).