Former Turnpike Authority Director of Toll Operations Robert Cole to Pay $250 Civil Penalty for Violating the Financial Disclosure Law
Failed to Timely File His 2008 Statement of Financial Interests
The State Ethics Commission ("Commission") issued a Decision and Order ("Decision") today in which former Massachusetts Turnpike Authority ("Authority") Director of Toll Operations Robert Cole ("Cole") was found to have violated the financial disclosure law, G.L. c. 268B, by failing to timely file his 2008 Statement of Financial Interests ("SFI"). Pursuant to the Decision, Cole was assessed a $250 civil penalty.
According to the Decision, Cole was employed by the Authority until March 2008. Pursuant to the financial disclosure law, his position had been classified as a major policy making position. Because Cole served in that position for more than thirty (30) days during 2008, he was required to file a 2008 SFI with the Commission by May 1, 2009. Cole did not file his 2008 SFI until March 22, 2010, after the Commission's Enforcement Division filed an Order to Show Cause seeking to enforce the statute.
The Decision states that because Cole also failed to timely file his 2007 SFI, he could have been assessed a $1,000 civil penalty as a repeat late-filer. However, due to extenuating family and financial circumstances, the Commission exercised its discretion and only imposed a $250 civil penalty, which Cole has six months to pay.
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 for the prior calendar year. The Commission can impose civil penalties for late filing or failure to file an SFI.