Enforcement Division Alleges that Chelmsford Planning Board Member Richard McClure Violated the Conflict of Interest Law
Represented plaintiffs in two lawsuits against the Town of Chelmsford
The Ethics Commission’s Enforcement Division issued an Order to Show Cause (“Order”) alleging that Chelmsford Planning Board (“Board”) member Richard McClure (“McClure”) violated G.L. c. 268A, the conflict of interest law, by representing plaintiffs in two lawsuits against the Town of Chelmsford (the “Town”) after his election to the Board.
According to the Order, McClure was elected to the Board in April 2011. He is also an attorney in private practice. In the first lawsuit, McClure had filed a complaint in Land Court in August 2010 representing Town residents in connection with a property dispute involving Fair Street in the Town. In October 2010, McClure amended the lawsuit to include the Town as a defendant. In the second lawsuit, which McClure filed in Middlesex Superior Court after McClure’s election to the Board in April 2011, McClure represented several Town residents in connection with an effort to recall members of the Board of Selectmen. McClure continued to represent his clients in the second lawsuit until May 2011, when a Superior Court judge, citing McClure’s “knowing violation of the conflict of interest law”, allowed a motion to disqualify McClure from representing any party other than himself. McClure continued to represent his clients in the first lawsuit until October 2011, when a Land Court judge allowed a motion to disqualify McClure from the Fair Street Lawsuit, also citing McClure’s conflict of interest.
Section 17(c) of the conflict of interest law prohibits a municipal employee, otherwise than in the proper discharge of official duties, from acting as agent or attorney for anyone other than the municipality in connection with a particular matter in which the municipality is a party or has a direct and substantial interest. According to the Order, McClure repeatedly violated section 17(c) by representing the plaintiffs in each of the lawsuits after he became a Planning Board member.
The Commission will schedule the matter for a public hearing within 90 days.
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