For Immediate Release - June 27, 2007

Developer Paul Cokinos Fined $2,000

For Paying Rockland Conservation Commissioner Kenneth Karlson $10,000 for Grading Work that Karlson Reviewed

The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission issued a Disposition Agreement in which developer Paul Cokinos admitted violating the state's conflict of interest law and agreed to pay a civil penalty of $2,000.

According to the Disposition Agreement, Cokinos, a resident of Dedham, violated G.L. c. 268A, § 17(b) by, in spring 2005, paying Rockland Conservation Commissioner Kenneth Karlson $10,000 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 that he later performed. Karlson served as a Conservation Commissioner until May 2005.

Section 17(b) of the conflict law prohibits anyone from compensating a municipal employee in relation to particular matters in which the town has an interest. 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.

"In prohibiting anyone from paying a municipal employee in connection with matters of interest to the town, the conflict of interest law seeks to prevent situations where town officials are or appear to be making decisions that will benefit them personally in the future," said Executive Director Peter Sturges.