For Immediate Release - May 23, 2007

Commission Alleges Boston City Council Assistant Research Director Lincoln Smith Violated Conflict of Interest Law

The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission's Enforcement Division issued an Order to Show Cause alleging that Boston City Council assistant research director Lincoln Smith, a Dorchester resident, violated the state's conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, by invoking his city council position after a valet parking service denied damaging his car. A public hearing will be scheduled within 90 days.

According to the Order to Show Cause, in November 2005, Smith used a valet service operated by VPNE Parking Solutions, LLC (VPNE) to park his car, a 2003 Nissan Maxima, at Brigham and Women's Hospital. When the valet returned the car, Smith pointed out that there was a long scratch from the front side door to the back door. The valet denied that the damage happened at the garage and Smith asked to see a supervisor. Two VPNE managers were called to the scene. They examined Smith's car and told Smith there appeared to be rust in one part of the scratch indicating the scratch was preexisting. They advised Smith to contact his insurance company and have its adjusters look at the damage and contact VPNE. Smith became agitated and repeatedly told the managers that he was "on the city council" and was "cognizant" of the parking issues in the area. Based on Smith's statements, the managers believed that Smith was a city councilor and that he could take actions that could impact VPNE and/or Brigham & Women's Hospital.

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 invoking his city council position and the powers associated with the city council during the negotiations concerning a damage claim involving his car, Smith violated this section of the law.