For Immediate Release - February 28, 2008

Commission Alleges Former Marlborough Department of Community Development Finance Assistant Violated the COI Law

The Ethics Commission's Enforcement Division, issued an Order to Show Cause, alleging that former Marlborough Department of Community Development (MDCD) Finance Assistant Maureen Brennan repeatedly violated sections 19 and 23(b)(3) of G.L. c. 268A, the state's conflict of interest law, by participating in her fiancé's (and then husband's) loan and the loan application for a cousin. A public hearing will be scheduled within 90 days.

According to the Order to Show Cause, in September 2002, Keith Wheeler, who was then Brennan's fiancé, was approved by the MDCD for housing rehabilitation assistance for property he owned in Marlborough. Brennan subsequently participated in progress payments of $8,495 and $9,909 to contractors working on the property by processing the payments and certifying that that the work had been performed. After Brennan and Wheeler married in October 2002, Brennan participated in another progress payment of $2,750 for work on the property and requested that the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development approve an increase in the amount of rehabilitation assistance available to Wheeler. In 2005, Brennan also participated in a $30,000 rehabilitation loan for her cousin and his wife.

Section 19 of the conflict of interest law prohibits a municipal employee from officially participating in matters in which to her knowledge an immediate family member has a financial interest. The Enforcement Division alleges that Brennan violated § 19 by participating in the approval of progress payments for work at property owned by her husband and by requesting an increase in the amount of rehabilitation assistance available to him.

Section 23(b)(3) of the conflict law prohibits a public official from knowingly or with reason to know acting in a manner which would cause a reasonable person, having knowledge of the relevant circumstances, to conclude that anyone can improperly influence or unduly enjoy the public employee's favor in the performance of her official duties. The Enforcement Division alleges that Brennan violated § 23(b)(3) by processing rehabilitation payments and certifying that the work had been performed at property owned by her then fiancé and later husband and by requesting an increase in the amount of rehabilitation assistance available to him. The Enforcement Division also alleges that Brennan violated § 23(b)(3) by participating in the processing of her cousin's loan.