State Ethics Commission Fines Former P.A. Landers Project Manager Terry Edwards $5,000 for Paying Bribes to a Massachusetts Highway Department Inspector
Disposition Agreement Resolves the Edwards Adjudicatory Matter
The Disposition Agreement resolves an adjudicatory matter against Edwards that was initiated on April 8, 2008, when the Commission's Enforcement Division filed Orders to Show Cause ("OTSC") alleging that Edwards and MassHighway Construction Inspector Thomas Kennedy ("Kennedy") violated sections 2 and 3 of G.L. c. 268A, the Conflict of Interest Law. Subsequently, the Commission approved a Disposition Agreement in which P.A. Landers paid a $10,000 civil penalty for violating the Conflict of Interest Law in connection with this matter. An adjudicatory hearing involving Kennedy has been completed and the Commission is deliberating that matter.
According to the Disposition Agreement, P.A. Landers delivered truckloads of asphalt to a MassHighway project site located on Route 44 in Plymouth. The loads of asphalt were weighed at the P.A. Landers plant and the drivers were given a weight slip. Kennedy was assigned to inspect the asphalt deliveries for foreign objects and conduct random yield inspections to verify that P.A. Landers was providing adequate amounts of asphalt. After conducting these inspections, Kennedy signed the weight slips provided by the P.A. Landers truck drivers and forwarded the weight slips to his supervisor, who signed them and submitted them to MassHighway for payment. These weight slips were necessary for P.A. Landers to receive payment for its work on the project.
The Disposition Agreement states that from May 2002 through November 2002, while assigned to the Route 44 project, Kennedy solicited and received cash from Edwards for Kennedy's gasoline expenses. Each payment averaged $200. Edwards gave Kennedy between $2,000 and $2,700 in cash using P.A. Landers' funds. Kennedy was not authorized to receive cash payments from any contractor under his supervision, and he received reimbursements from MassHighway for travel expenses incurred using his personal vehicle to travel to and from the Route 44 project.
According to the Disposition Agreement, Edwards provided the cash payments with the intent to cause Kennedy to relax his inspections of P.A. Landers' asphalt deliveries on the Route 44 project site. Edwards was concerned that if Kennedy did not receive the cash payments, P.A. Landers risked delays in Kennedy's processing of paperwork necessary for P.A. Landers to receive payment for its work on the project. For example, on June 29, 2002, Kennedy signed six P.A. Landers weight slips without conducting proper inspections.
Section 2(a) of c. 268A prohibits anyone from corruptly giving anything of value to any state employee with the intent to influence any official act or act within his official responsibility.
Edwards gave Kennedy between $2,000 and $2,700 in cash with the intent to influence Kennedy's performance of certain duties as a MassHighway construction inspector, including Kennedy's inspection of asphalt deliveries and his processing of paperwork necessary for P.A. Landers to receive payment for its work on the Route 44 project. Accordingly, Edwards corruptly gave these payments. Therefore, Edwards repeatedly violated s. 2(a) by corruptly giving cash payments to Kennedy with the intent to influence Kennedy in his performance of official acts and/or acts within his official responsibility.
"Bribes given in connection with public works projects are especially egregious violations of the public trust because they call into question the safety and integrity of the public works project," said Executive Director Karen L. Nober. "Mr. Edwards paid a $5,000 fine, an amount that reflects that he cooperated in a federal investigation of this matter."