Allegedly Former Executive Office of Public Safety Assistant Secretary Michael J. O'Toole Violated Conflict of Interest Law
O'Toole approved over $1M in payments, a portion of which would benefit his future employer
The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission's Enforcement Division filed an Order to Show Cause alleging that former Executive Office of Public Safety (EOPS) Assistant Secretary Michael J. O'Toole 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 March, 2003, O'Toole approved payments totaling $1,118,750 to five police departments that were clients of Crest Associates, Inc. (Crest) as well as reports associated with those payments. Crest was a Boston-based firm that assisted municipal and regional police organizations in obtaining and administering public safety grants for fees of as much as 20% of the grant. Thus, Crest had a financial interest in the payments and associated reports. At the time O'Toole approved the grants, he was negotiating or had an arrangement for employment with Crest. On March 4, 2003, O'Toole accepted a position with Crest; he resigned from EOPS on March 28, 2003. In addition, once he became an employee of Crest, O'Toole wrote a quarterly financial report for a police department that had received a grant from EOPS that O'Toole had approved.
Section 6 prohibits a state employee from officially participating in matters in which to his knowledge he or a person or organization with which he is negotiating for prospective employment has a financial interest. Section 5(a) of the conflict law prohibits a former public employee from receiving compensation in connection with any particular matter in which a state agency is a party or has a direct and substantial interest and in which he participated as a state employee.
By approving payments and quarterly financial reports to police departments that were clients of Crest at the same time he was negotiating for employment with Crest, O'Toole allegedly violated G.L. c. 268A, § 6. By receiving compensation as a Crest employee for writing a quarterly financial report for a police department, O'Toole allegedly violated § 5(a).