Enforcement Division Alleges Conflict of Interest Law Violation by New Bedford Housing Authority Senior Property Manager Bruce Duarte
Allegedly intervened to stop housing authority from evicting his brother
The Ethics Commission’s Enforcement Division issued an Order to Show Cause (“OTSC”) alleging that New Bedford Housing Authority (“NBHA”) senior property manager Bruce Duarte (“Duarte”) violated G.L. c. 268A, the conflict of interest law, by ordering NBHA staff to stop eviction proceedings against his brother, an NBHA tenant. By doing so, Duarte allegedly participated in a particular matter in which, to his knowledge, an immediate family member had a financial interest.
According to the OTSC, Duarte’s brother was set to be evicted for nonpayment of rent in September of 2010. Duarte’s brother owed approximately $600 in back rent and costs associated with the eviction proceedings. On or about September 13, 2010, Duarte, acting in his capacity as NBHA senior property manager, directed NBHA staff to stop the eviction proceedings, which they did.
Section 19 of the conflict of interest law prohibits a municipal employee from participating as such an employee in a particular matter in which, to his knowledge, a member of his immediate family has a financial interest.
According to the OTSC, Duarte’s brother had a financial interest in avoiding eviction because he could remain an NBHA tenant despite owing back rent, and not have to pay for new housing. The OTSC alleges that Duarte knew of his brother’s financial interest and, by intervening as a senior property manager to stop the eviction, Duarte violated section 19.
The Commission will schedule the matter for a public hearing within 90 days.