For Immediate Release - December 21, 2006

Springfield Liquor License Commissioner Stanley Fined $2,000

Commission Fines Third Former Springfield Liquor License Commissioner

The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission fined former Springfield Liquor License Commissioner Cheryl Stanley $2,000 for receiving gift certificates from Brian Moore, owner and manager of Kappy's Liquors of Springfield.

In a Disposition Agreement, Stanley admitted violating G.L. c. 268A, § 23(b)(3). Stanley received gift certificates enclosed in holiday cards each year from 1999 through 2003 and gave the gift certificates away. Section 23(b)(3) of the conflict law prohibits a public official from knowingly or with reason to know acting in a manner which would cause a reasonable person, having knowledge of the relevant circumstances, to conclude that anyone can improperly influence or unduly enjoy the public employee's favor in the performance of her official duties. Stanley could have avoided violating §23(b)(3) by returning the certificates or by making an advance written disclosure of her receipt of the gift certificates prior to voting to renew Kappy's license. She did not make such disclosures.

In a press release issued earlier, the Commission issued a Disposition Agreement in which Moore admitted violating the conflict of interest law by giving gift certificates enclosed in holiday cards totaling approximately $200 to each Springfield Liquor License Commissioner each December from 1999 to 2003. Moore paid a $10,000 civil penalty. In addition, two former Commissioners, Peter Murphy and Gary Van Tassel, were fined $1,000 and $500 respectively for receiving the gift certificates and thus creating an appearance of conflict of interest.

"When public officials receive gifts at a time when they are about to take official action involving the giver, an appearance is created that they may be influenced by the gifts," said Executive Director Peter Sturges. "In order to dispel that appearance, public officials should return the gift or make a written disclosure of the gift before taking action."