In the Matter of Raymond Payson
November 29, 2007
This Disposition Agreement is entered into between the State Ethics Commission and Raymond Payson pursuant to Section 5 of the Commission's Enforcement Procedures. This Agreement constitutes a consented-to final order enforceable in Superior Court, pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, s. 4(j).
On June 13, 2007, 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 Payson. The Commission concluded its inquiry and, on September 21, 2007, found reasonable cause to believe that Payson violated G.L. c. 268A.
The Commission and Payson now agree to the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:
Findings of Fact
1. During the relevant period, Payson was chairman of the North Attleborough Planning Board.
2. Payson and his brother own a 7.6-acre vacant lot on Landry Avenue in North Attleborough. The Paysons' lot abuts an 11.1-acre lot at 344 John Dietsch Boulevard owned by Corliss Development Group, L.L.C. ("the Corliss property").
3. In early spring 2006, plans were drafted to develop the Corliss property for commercial use involving garages and offices for local contractors. In March 2006, Corliss submitted his plans for the development to the Planning Board. Key development issues were road access and intersections. Decisions concerning these issues would likely affect the value of Payson's abutting property as these decisions would determine whether Corliss Landing would pay for a road layout that would give access to Payson's lot.
4. In or about late spring 2006, Payson stated that he was not going to participate in the Corliss property development matters as a Planning Board member because of his abutter status.
5. Notwithstanding this statement, Payson participated as a Planning Board member in the following matters concerning the Corliss property development:
a. approving the May 25, 2006 site plan application;
b. attending and participating in discussions on the September 18, 2006 Planning Board site walk;
c. approving the October 5, 2006 site plan modification;
d. inspecting the property on November 28, 2006 with the Planning Board engineer; and
e. writing a November 28, 2006 letter to Corliss on Planning Board letterhead stating that utility work was "at risk of not receiving planning board approval."
Conclusions of Law
6. Section 19 of G.L. c. 268A prohibits municipal employees from participating in their official capacity in particular matters in which, to their knowledge, they have a financial interest.
7. As the Planning Board chairman, Payson was a municipal employee as that term is defined in G.L. c. 268A, s. 1.
8. The Planning Board's approvals, decisions and inspections regarding the Corliss property development were particular matters.
9. Payson, as a Planning Board member, repeatedly participated as described above in such matters involving these decisions concerning the Corliss property development.
10. Payson had a financial interest in the Planning Board's decisions regarding the Corliss property as the decisions would have a reasonably foreseeable financial impact on his abutting property's value.
11. Payson knew of his financial interest in the particular matters before the Planning Board concerning the Corliss property when he repeatedly participated as a Planning Board member in the particular matters as described above.
12. Accordingly, by participating as a Planning Board member as described above in the particular matters involving the Corliss property development, Payson repeatedly violated s. 19.
In view of the foregoing violation of G.L. c. 268A by Payson, 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 Payson:
1. that Payson pay to the Commission the sum of $5,000 as a civil penalty for repeatedly violating G.L. c. 268A, s. 19 and
2. 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.
STATE ETHICS COMMISSION
David Wilson Acting Executive Director
Date: November 29, 2007
Date: October 12, 2007
I, Raymond Payson, have personally read the above Disposition Agreement. I understand that it is a public document and that by signing it, I will have agreed to all of the terms and conditions therein including payment of $5,000.00 to the State Ethics Commission.
Dated: October 12, 2007