For Immediate Release - October 30, 2007

Medfield Building Inspector Walter Tortorici Fined $2,000 for Violating Conflict of Interest Law

The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission issued a Disposition Agreement in which part-time Medfield Building Inspector Walter Tortorici admitted violating the state's conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, by applying for building permits and doing work in connection with those permits for private customers. Tortorici paid a civil penalty of $2,000.

According to the Disposition Agreement, on 13 occasions between February 2005 and December 2006, Tortorici 'pulled' building permits on behalf of private customers of Design Builders of Medfield and G.T. Builders, Tortorici's residential remodeling and addition companies. The private customers compensated him for the work performed in connection with the permits. Tortorici did not participate as building inspector in matters involving permits he pulled.

Section 17(a) of G.L. c. 268A prohibits municipal employees from otherwise than as provided by law for proper discharge of official duties directly or indirectly receiving or requesting compensation from anyone other than their city, town or municipal agency in relation to a particular matter in which the same city or town is a party or has a direct and substantial interest. By receiving compensation from private customers in connection with the permits, which are matters in which the town has a direct and substantial interest, Tortorici violated § 17(a). 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. By applying on behalf of his private customers for permits, Tortorici violated § 17(c).

A local option law enabling part-time building inspectors to do private construction work in their jurisdiction under certain conditions was not in effect in Medfield in 2005 and 2006. The town adopted this law in April 2007.

"Town employees owe undivided loyalty to the town that employs them,"said Commission spokesperson Carol Carson. "The conflict of interest law seeks to prevent divided loyalties which might result if a employee attempts to serve two masters - the town and a private customer - with different or conflicting interests."