For Immediate Release - August 24, 2006

Former Beverly Mayor Thomas Crean and Former Purchasing Director Christopher Bradley Allegedly Violated Conflict Law

Crean purchase surplus laptop computer for $100; Bradley facilitated in the purchase

The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission's Enforcement Division issued two Orders to Show Cause alleging that former Beverly Mayor Thomas Crean and former Purchasing Director Christopher Bradley violated the state's conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A. A public hearing will be scheduled within 90 days.

According to the Order to Show Cause, in 2002 when Crean took office, the city purchased a Compaq Presario laptop computer for him to use at the cost of $1,785. In fall 2003, Crean decided he wanted to buy his laptop from the city when he left office. Despite advice from the city's Information Technology Department director that the laptop was still useful to the city and should not be declared surplus, Crean directed Bradley to treat the laptop as surplus. Crean and Bradley did not follow the usual and proper procedure for declaring the computer surplus. Bradley posted its availability as surplus property at City Hall and provided Crean with information about on-line auctions for similar computers. Crean checked the posting often and asked Bradley if any other bids had come in. Crean's bid of $100 was the only bid received by the deadline of December 29, 2003. Bradley accepted the bid and Crean left office in early January 2004 with the computer, for which he paid $100.

Section 19 prohibits a municipal employee from officially participating in matters in which to his knowledge he, his immediate family or a business in which he is serving as a director has a financial interest. Section 20 prohibits a municipal employee from having a financial interest in a contract made by the municipality. Section 23(b)(2) of the conflict law prohibits a public employee from using or attempting to use his position to secure for himself or others an unwarranted privilege of substantial value not properly available to similarly situated individuals.

By participating as mayor by directing Bradley to declare the computer surplus, Crean allegedly violated G.L. c. 268A, § 19; by purchasing the surplus computer from the city, Crean allegedly violated § 20; and by using his position to have the computer declared surplus, Crean allegedly violated § 23(b)(2). A second Order to Show Cause alleges that Bradley violated § 23(b)(2) by using his position to manage the process by which the computer was declared as surplus, posted for auction and sold.

The Commission has the authority to impose civil penalties of up to $2,000 per violation.