Commission Alleges Hopkinton Conservation Commissioner Jack Speranza Violated Conflict of Interest Law
According to the Order to Show Cause, Speranza sought advice from the Ethics Commission on October 5, 2006 as to whether he could act as a private attorney on behalf of a group of town residents who wanted to file a suit against the town regarding the Community Preservation Committee's purchase of a certain parcel of open space. An Ethics Commission attorney advised Speranza that § 17 of the conflict of interest law prohibited him from so acting.
Section 17(c) of the conflict of interest law prohibits a public employee from acting as an agent or attorney for anyone other than the town in connection with a particular matter in which the town is a party or has a direct and substantial interest.
On October 12, 2006, Speranza sent a letter to the Commission stating he planned to file the suit notwithstanding the advice he received. Between October 12 and November 28, 2006, Speranza, on behalf of the group of town residents:
- filed a "Petition Under M.G.L. c. 40, § 53 to Restrain Illegal Appropriations" against the town and obtained a temporary restraining order;
- signed a stipulation agreement in regard to the temporary restraining order;
- filed a memorandum in support of continuing the injunction; and
- after the Court denied the preliminary injunction, signed and filed a stipulation of dismissal of the law suit.