Former Randolph Housing Authority Executive Director Joseph W. Daly Fined $5,000 for Violating the Conflict of Interest Law
According to the Disposition Agreement, Daly was the Randolph Housing Authority ("RHA") Executive Director from December 2002 to September 2004. The RHA owns approximately 256 housing units, and rents these units for less than fair market value to individuals who qualify on the basis of income.
Beginning in September 2003, Daly participated in selecting Arthur and Mary Hilliard as RHA tenants, and then negotiated with the Hilliards to purchase their home on Oak Street in Randolph prior to the Hilliards' execution of their housing unit lease with the RHA. The Hilliards applied for a handicapped accessible housing unit, for which there was a wait list. Daly processed their application, and advised the Hilliards that if the trust that owned their home were to evict them, they could qualify for an immediate emergency placement into an RHA unit on the basis of imminent homelessness. The Hilliards were the sole trustees and beneficiaries of the trust that owned their home. In January 2004, the Quincy District Court issued an Execution Writ, evicting the Hilliards. Daly, in his capacity as RHA Executive Director, filed a copy of the Execution Writ with the Hilliards' application and selected the Hilliards for immediate placement, based on emergency circumstances.
Daly decided against purchasing the home due to conflict of interest concerns, and his father, Edward Daly, a real estate developer and rental property owner, agreed to purchase the home for $200,000. Edward Daly purchased the home on March 19, 2004, the same date that the Hilliards took possession of their RHA unit. Edward Daly rehabilitated the Hilliards' home and sold it on December 13, 2004, for $395,000.
Also according to the Disposition Agreement, in November 2003, Joseph Daly processed a tenant application for Judith Shultz, who, at the time, was a tenant of Edward Daly who was having difficulty paying her rent. Shultz was afforded an immediate placement into an RHA unit because she qualified for veteran's preference. She moved into an RHA unit in January, 2004, and Edward Daly was then able to rent his property to new tenants who could afford the rent.
Section 19 prohibits a municipal employee from participating as such in any particular matter in which, to his knowledge, he or a member of his immediate family has a financial interest. Daly had a financial interest in processing the Hilliards' tenant application and lease agreement because the Hilliards needed to obtain RHA housing in order to be able to sell their home to Daly. Daly's father also had a financial interest in these matters because the Hilliards' occupancy of an RHA unit allowed the Hilliards to sell their property to him. Daly violated § 19 of the conflict of interest law by participating in his capacity as RHA Executive Director in matters in which, to his knowledge, he and/or his father, an immediate family member, had financial interests. Daly also violated § 19 by participating in his capacity as RHA Executive Director in Judith Shultz' tenant application. Daly knew that his father had a financial interest in this matter because he knew that Shultz was his father's tenant and was having difficulty making her rent payments.
Section 23(b)(2) of G.L. c. 268A prohibits a municipal employee from, knowingly or with reason to know, using or attempting to use his official position to secure for himself or others unwarranted privileges or exemptions of substantial value not properly available to similarly situated individuals. According to the Disposition Agreement, Daly's opportunity to purchase the Hilliards' property was a privilege. By negotiating with the Hilliards to buy their property and later offering to substitute his father in the transaction while the Hilliards' application was pending, Daly used or attempted to use his official position to secure an unwarranted privilege for himself and/or his father. This privilege was of substantial value, as evidenced by the profit realized by Edward Daly on the subsequent sale of the property. This privilege was unwarranted because, while the purchase and sale negotiations were taking place, the Hilliards were subject to Daly's official authority or regulatory jurisdiction. The Hilliards' emergency placement in an RHA unit was also a privilege. This privilege was unwarranted because the Hilliards did not meet the criteria for emergency placement, and Daly knew this. Daly used his RHA position to secure this privilege for the Hilliards. Daly did not publicly disclose to his appointing authority, the RHA board, his private dealings with the Hilliards.
"Public employees are not allowed to participate officially in matters where they or their immediate family members have financial interests, unless they disclose those interests in advance and receive authorization to participate in those matters from their appointing authority. In addition, in the absence of certain procedural and substantive safeguards, a public employee's private business relationship with a person under his regulatory authority is considered inherently coercive and a violation of the conflict of interest law," said Executive Director Karen L. Nober.