For Immediate Release - July 27, 2009

COMMISSION FINES FORMER MASSHIGHWAY INSPECTOR THOMAS KENNEDY $6,000 FOR RECEIVING BRIBES

The Ethics Commission, in a Decision and Order ("Decision") , resolved the adjudicatory matter involving former Massachusetts Highway Department ("MassHighway") Inspector Thomas Kennedy ("Kennedy"). Kennedy was fined $6,000 for soliciting and receiving bribes from a MassHighway vendor doing work on Route 44 in Plymouth. Kennedy has 30 days to appeal this decision to the Superior Court.

The adjudicatory matter commenced on April 8, 2008 when the Commission's Enforcement Division filed two Orders to Show Cause alleging that Kennedy and P.A Landers ("Landers") Project Manager Terry Edwards ("Edwards") violated G.L. c. 268A, the conflict of interest law. In June 2008, the company, Landers, entered into a disposition agreement with the Ethics Commission in which it admitted to providing illegal gratuities to Kennedy through its employee, Edwards. Landers paid a $10,000 civil penalty. Edwards entered into a disposition agreement in April 2009 in which he admitted to paying bribes to Kennedy and paid a $5,000 civil penalty.

According to the Decision, Landers was the general contractor on a job on Route 44 between Middleborough and Plymouth. Landers delivered asphalt to the job site, and Kennedy was responsible for inspecting the loads and signing off on the weight slips given to him by Landers' truck drivers. Kennedy submitted those weight slips to his MassHighway supervisor in order to process payment to Landers.

In June, 2002, Kennedy approached Landers' Project Manager, Terry Edwards, seeking reimbursement first for a damaged tire on Kennedy's vehicle, and then for gasoline expenses. The Decision noted that MassHighway was reimbursing Kennedy for his gasoline expenses. Kennedy received these reimbursements from Landers. In exchange, rather than requiring that Landers "dotted every i and crossed every t," Kennedy made the project go smoothly for Landers. He processed paperwork to make sure that Landers received timely payments from MassHighway. On one day, he submitted six weight slips for Landers without having inspected the asphalt deliveries.

Section 2(b) of G.L. c. 268A, in relevant part, prohibits a state employee from directly or indirectly corruptly asking, demanding, exacting, soliciting, seeking, accepting, receiving or agreeing to receive anything of value for himself or for any other person or entity, in return for being influenced in his performance of any official act or any act within his official responsibility. By soliciting and receiving reimbursements from Edwards for the damaged tire and for gasoline expenses, and in return, "making things go more smoothly" for Landers, Kennedy violated section 2(b).

The Decision states, "As a MassHighway inspector, Kennedy engaged in the most egregious type of breach of the public trust, exacting a price for the performance of his official duties and using his position to secure from a private contractor personal benefits to which he had no entitlement."

"The Commission imposed the maximum penalty possible for the violations identified in the Decision," stated Executive Director Karen L. Nober. "The egregious conduct in this case warranted nothing less."

Disposition Agreement