For Immediate Release - February 17, 2010

Ethics Commission's Enforcement Division Alleges that Two Former State Employees Violated the Financial Disclosure Law

Failed to Timely File 2008 Financial Disclosure Statements

The Enforcement Division of the State Ethics Commission issued two Orders to Show Cause ("OTSC") alleging that former Massachusetts Turnpike Authority Director of Toll Operations Robert Cole ("Cole") and former Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Fiscal Officer Elizabeth Story ("Story") each violated General Laws Chapter 268B, the Financial Disclosure Law, by failing to timely file their respective Statement of Financial Interests ("SFIs") for calendar year 2008.

According to the OTSCs, Cole and Story were required to file their SFIs for 2008 by May 1, 2009. They failed to file their SFIs by that date. They were then sent Formal Notices of Lateness notifying them that they had 10 days to file or they would be subject to civil penalties. They did not file within the 10 day period. Cole has yet to file his SFI for 2008, and Story did not file her SFI for 2008 until June 25, 2009.

The Financial Disclosure Law requires elected state and county officials, candidates for state office and "designated major policy makers" at the state and county level to annually disclose their financial interests and private business associations by filing an SFI with the Commission each year. The Commission can impose civil penalties for failure to file an SFI.

The maximum civil penalty for a violation of the Financial Disclosure law that occurred prior to September 29, 2009, was $2,000. Effective as of September 29, 2009, the maximum civil penalty was increased to $10,000.

The Commission will schedule hearings on each matter within 90 days.