For Immediate Release - October 17, 2007

Commission Alleges Rockland Conservation Commissioner Kenneth Karlson Violated COI Law

By Receiving $10,000 for Excavation Work

The Enforcement Division of the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission issued an Order to Show Cause alleging that former Rockland Conservation Commissioner Kenneth Karlson violated M.G.L. c. 268A, the conflict of interest law, by receiving $10,000 as compensation for excavation work Karlson had previously approved as a Conservation Commissioner. A public hearing will be held within 90 days.

According to the Order to Show Cause, Karlson, who served as a Conservation Commissioner from 2003 until May 2005, was hired in spring 2005 by developer Paul Cokinos to perform excavation work on a construction project at the Massachusetts Sports Club. In summer 2004, Karlson participated as a Conservation Commission member in the issuance of an order of conditions for the project that included the grading work that he later performed, the Order to Show Cause alleges.

Section 17(a) of the conflict law prohibits a municipal employee receiving compensation in relation to particular matters in which the town has an interest. The Order to Show Cause alleges that the Conservation Commission's decision concerning the grading requirements on the project was a particular matter in which the town of Rockland had a direct and substantial interest.

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

In June 2007, Cokinos signed a Disposition Agreement with the State Ethics Commission in which he admitted violating M.G.L. c. 268A, § 17(b) of the state's conflict of interest law by paying Karlson to perform the excavation work. Cokinos paid a civil penalty of $2,000.