For Immediate Release - June 28, 2005

Commission's Enforcement Division Alleges DHCD Employee Amy J. Fripp Violated Conflict of Interest Law

Fripp purchased affordable housing unit in Lincoln despite advice that deal was prohibited

The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission's Enforcement Division issued an Order to Show Cause alleging that Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) paralegal Amy J. Fripp violated the state's conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, by purchasing a DHCD-regulated affordable housing unit in the Battle Road Farm Condominium in Lincoln. A public hearing will be scheduled within 90 days.

According to the Order to Show Cause, Fripp's duties at DHCD included reviewing the refinancing and resale of low income units under the Homeownership Program (HOP) that was designed to assist low and moderate income households in buying affordable homes. In 2000, Fripp signed up to be placed on the list to purchase an affordable housing unit in Lincoln. She was qualified and was added to the list. In July 2003, Fripp purchased the Lincoln condominium. The unit had a fair market value of $330,000, but a discounted price of $160,281. Prior to purchasing the unit, Fripp received written advice from an Ethics Commission attorney that her purchase was prohibited.

Section 7 of the conflict law prohibits a state employee from having a financial interest, directly or indirectly, in a contract made by a state agency, in which a state agency is an interested party, of which interest she has knowledge or reason to know. According to the Order to Show Cause, the deed rider was a contract made by the DHCD, a state agency, and the DHCD was an interested party in that contract.

The Order to Show Cause seeks:

  • an order requiring Fripp to cease and desist from owning the property,
  • to bring a civil action against Fripp in Superior Court to recover damages in the amount of the economic advantage Fripp obtained, and
  • civil penalties.