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Decision In the Matter of Allison Goodsell

Date: 04/22/1981
Organization: State Ethics Commission
Docket Number: 128
  • Appearance for Petitioner: John H. Cunha, Jr., Esq
  • Commissioners: Vorenberg, Chairman; Brickman; Bernstein; Kistler; McLaughlin

I. Procedural History

On August 20, 1980, the Petitioner filed an Order to Show  Cause alleging that the Respondent, Allison Goodsell, violated  s.5(g) of the Financial Disclosure Law, General Laws Chapter 268B,  by failing to file a Statement of Financial Interests for 1979(1979  SFI). On November 14, 1980, the Sheriff of Washington County, Rhode  Island, served the Order to Show Cause in hand to Respondent. The  Respondent failed to file an Answer. On December 16, 1980, the  Petitioner moved for a Summary Decision pursuant to 930 CMR 1.01  (6)(f)(2).[1] On January 7, 1981, the Petitioner submitted  affidavits of staff members   

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of the State Ethics Commission (the Commission) stating they had  been informed telephonically by the Respondent's attorney, Bruce  Goodsell, that the Respondent had no intention of filing her 1979  SFl because inter alia, she was beyond the jurisdiction of the  Commission. Presiding Commissioner Bernstein[2] ordered the  Petitioner to file a brief setting forth the Petitioner's argument  that the Respondent is subject to the personal jurisdiction of the  Commission. Upon the timely filing of Petitioner's brief,  Commissioner Bernstein, on March 6, 1981, ordered the Respondent  to show cause why summary judgment should not be entered against  her for failure to file an Answer and to submit, as of March 24,  1981, a reply brief on the issue of personal jurisdiction. He  scheduled a hearing on the Petitioner's Motion for Summary Decision  on March 30,1981. Pursuant to notice, the full Commission attended  the hearing; the Petitioner argued but the Respondent made no appearance.   The Commission deliberated and ruled on the Petitioner's Motion in   plenary session pursuant to 930 CMR 1.01 (6)(f)(2).[3]

II. Findings of Fact

1. The Respondent was designated a "public employee" within  the meaning of Chapter 268B Section 1(o) and worked for more than  eight (8) days as a public employee in 1979.

2. The Respondent failed to file her 1979 SFI on or before  May 1, 1980.

3. The Respondent failed to File her 1979 SFI after receiving  notice of her delinquency.



The Respondent's residence in Rhode Island did not preclude  the Commission from obtaining personal jurisdiction over her in  this adjudicatory proceeding. Personal and subject matter  jurisdiction are conferred by General Laws Chapter 268B, Section  5(c).[4]


It is clear from the procedural history of this case that the  Respondent has had ample opportunity to participate in this  proceeding. No appearance, however, either special or general, has  been made on her behalf. We are compelled, therefore, to find that  Allison Goodsell violated Section 5(g) of General Laws Chapter 268B  by failing to file a 1979 SFI.


In previous Final Decisions, the Commission chose not to  impose the maximum civil penalty for failure of a Respondent to  file a Statement of Financial Interests.[5] This case is  distinguishable from those because, unlike Respondents Buckley and  Almeida, Allison Goodsell refused to respond in any way to this  action. At a minimum, she could have made a special appearance to  challenge the Commission's personal jurisdiction, but chose instead  to ignore these proceedings. In so doing, she demonstrated a lack  of good faith in this matter.


The Petitioner's Motion for a Summary Decision is Granted.  Accordingly, the Respondent Allison Goodsell is Ordered to:

1. File a Statement of Financial Interests for 1979 within  seven (7) days of receipt of this opinion; and

2. Pay a civil penalty of $1,000 (one thousand dollars) to  the Commission within thirty (30) days of receipt of this opinion.

[1]1 930 CMR 1.01 (6)(f)(2) provides as follows:  When the record discloses the failure of the Respondent to  file documents required by these Rules, to respond to notices or  correspondence, or to comply with the orders of the Commission or  Presiding Officer, or otherwise indicates a substantial failure to  cooperate with the Adjudicatory Proceeding, the Presiding Officer  may issue an order requiring that the Respondent show cause why a  summary decision should not be entered against him. if the  Respondent fails to show such cause, a summary decision may he  entered in favor of the Petitioner. Any such summary decision shall  be granted only by the Commission. shall be a Final Decision, and  shall be made in writing as provided in Section 9(m) of these  Rules.

[2] Single members of the Commission may preside over adjudicatory  proceedings. See 930 CMR 1.01 (1)(c)(8) which defines "Presiding  Officer" as "The individual . . . duly designated by the Commission  to conduct adjudicatory proceedings". see also In the Matter of  James J. Craven, Jr., Commission Adjudicatory Docket No. 110.  Decision and Order, p. 13 (June 18,1980).

[3] 930 CMR 1.01 (6)(f)(2) provides in pertinent part that "summary  decision shall be granted only by the Commission".

[4] G.L. c. 268B, s.5(c) provides as follows:  Every public employee shall file a statement of financial  interests for the preceding calendar year with the Commission  within ten days after becoming a public employee, on or before May  first of the year after such person ceases to be a public employee;  provided, however, that no public employee shall be required to  file a statement of financial interests for any year in which he  was a public employee for less than eight days.  We find no provisions within G.L. c. 268B which condition  these filing requirements on the choice of residence of the public  employee.

[5] The maximum civil penalty is established in G.L. c. 2689,  s.4(d)(3) which provides that "the Commission, upon a finding. .  . that there has been a violation of c. 268A or [c. 268B] may issue  an order requiring the violator to . . . (3) pay a civil penalty  of not more than $1,000 for each violation. . ." As to the  imposition of penalties for violations of Section 5(g) of G.L. c.  268B, see In the Matter of John R. Buckley, Commission Adjudicatory  Docket No. 108 Decision and Order, pp. 26-27 (May 7,1980) and In  the Matter of Victor Almeida, Commission Adjudicatory Docket No.  104, Decision and Order, p. 8 (July 10.1980).


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