Ethics Commission Finds in Favor of MBTA Painters Foreman Darryl Clark
Enforcement Division failed to prove allegations that Clark solicited loans from two subordinates
The State Ethics Commission issued a Decision and Order (“Decision”) in which it found that the Commission’s Enforcement Division failed to prove allegations that Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (“MBTA”) Painters Foreman Darryl Clark violated sections 23(b)(2)(i) and 23(b)(2)(ii) of G.L. c. 268A, the conflict of interest law, by soliciting loans from two temporary MBTA painters who were his subordinates. An adjudicatory hearing on these allegations was held March 11, 2014, and this case is now concluded by the issuance of this Decision.
The adjudicatory proceeding was initiated by the Enforcement Division’s filing of an Order to Show Cause (“OTSC”) on December 12, 2012, alleging that in 2010, Clark separately approached the two painters, Thomas Steiner and Alexandre Gomes, asking for loans of $500 and $300 respectively.
According to the Decision, Steiner and Gomes worked as MBTA temporary painters who reported to Clark and were Clark’s subordinates. They were not friends with Clark in 2010, and did not associate with him outside of work. Steiner and Gomes left the MBTA in December 2011 when their contracts expired. Testimony from Clark, Steiner and Gomes offered “starkly different versions of the alleged solicitations.” Steiner and Gomes testified that their work environment became hostile after they refused to give money to Clark, while Clark argued that the allegations were fabricated by both men in an attempt to get the MBTA to hire them as permanent employees. The Decision stated that there was no other testimony or evidence in the record about the reporting and/or any investigation by the MBTA regarding Clark’s alleged solicitation of Steiner and Gomes. In its Decision, the Commission stated, “In this case, where the evidence presents two competing versions of what occurred, with no independent corroborating evidence, [the Enforcement Division] failed to meet its burden of proving each element of the alleged violations by a preponderance of the evidence.”
Section 23(b)(2)(i) of the conflict of interest law prohibits a state employee from knowingly, or with reason to know, soliciting or receiving anything of substantial value for such employee, which is not otherwise authorized by statute or regulation, for or because of the employee’s official position. Section 23(b)(2)(ii) prohibits a state employee from knowingly, or with reason to know, using or attempting to use his official position to secure for himself or others unwarranted privileges or exemptions which are of substantial value and which are not properly available to similarly situated individuals.