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Decision

Decision In the Matter of Nicholas Paleologos

Date: 01/13/1984
Organization: State Ethics Commission
Docket Number: 232
  • Appearance for Petitioner: Marilyn L. O'Connell, Esq.
  • Respondent: Nicholas Paleologos
  • Commissioners: Ch.; Brickman, Burns, McLaughlin, Mulligan

I. Procedural History

The Petitioner filed an Order to Show Cause on September 26,   1983 alleging that the Respondent,     

Page 170     

Nicholas Paleologos, had violated of M.G.L. c. 268B, s.5[1] by   failing to file his Statement of Financial Interests for 1982 (Statement) within ten days of receiving from the Commission a Formal Notice of Delinquency.   Pursuant to notice, an adjudicatory hearing was conducted on   November 15,1983 before Commissioner David Brickman, a duly designated presiding officer.  See, M.G.L. c. 268B, s.4(c). The   parties filed post-hearing briefs but waived their right to present oral arguments before the full Commission.  In rendering this Decision and Order, each participating member of the Commission has   considered the evidence and arguments presented by the parties.

II. Findings of Fact

1. The Respondent, Nicholas Paleologos, has been a State   Representative from Woburn since, 1977. 

2. As a person holding "public office"[2] in 1982, the Respondent was a "public official"[3] and was required to file a Statement for 1982 on or before May 31, 1983.     

3. The Respondent failed to file his 1982 Statement by May 31,   1983.     

4. On June 7, 1983, the Respondent received from the Commission a Formal Notice of Delinquency (Notice) requiring him to file his Statement within ten days of receipt of the Notice.     

5. The Respondent failed to file his 1982 Statement within ten   days of receipt of the Notice.     

6. The Commission initiated a preliminary inquiry on July 19, 1983 pursuant to the Respondent's failure to file his 1982 Statement and thereafter authorized the initiation of adjudicatory   proceedings.

7. The Respondent filed his 1982 Statement on July 18, 1983, twenty days after the expiration of the ten-day period contained   in the Notice.     

8. The Respondent admits receiving the Commission's Notice but states that he made a "conscious decision" to put the Notice aside until his General Court activities during that time period had subsided.

III. Decision

The failure of a reporting person to file a Statement within ten days after receiving a notice of delinquency constitutes a violation of M.G.L. c. 268B, s.5. The elements necessary to establish a M.G.L. c. 268B, s.5 violation are that: (1) the subject   was a public official (as defined by the statute) during the year in question; (2) the subject was notified in writing of his   delinquency and the possible penalties for failure to file a statement; (3) the subject did not file a statement within ten days of receiving notice.  Inasmuch as the Respondent conceded at the adjudicatory hearing that he failed to file his 1982 Statement within ten days of receiving the Commission's Notice, the Commission concludes that the Respondent violated M.G.L. c. 268B, s.5.

IV. Sanction

Under M.G.L. c. 268B, s.4(d), the Commission may order an individual who violates M.G.L. c. 268B to pay a civil penalty of not more than $2,000.00 for each violation. In cases involving   Statements which are filed late, the Commission imposes a fine calculated on the number of days which elapse after the expiration of the ten-day period following the Commission's Notice.[4]  While the Commission does retain the discretion to adjust a civil penalty in recognition of mitigating circumstances, none of the factors   warranting mitigation are present in this case.[5]

V. Order

On the basis of the foregoing, the Commission concludes that Nicholas Paleologos violated M.G.L. c. 268B, s.5. Pursuant to the authority granted it by M.G.L. c. 268B, s.4(d), the Commission hereby orders Mr. Paleologos to pay a civil penalty of three hundred dollars ($300.00).

[1] M.G.L. c. 268B, states in relevant part:     


(b) Every public official shall file a statement of financial   interests for the preceding calendar year with the commission on or before the last Tuesday in May of each year that such public official holds such office and on or before May first of the year   after such public official leaves such office. . . .     

(g) Failure of a reporting person to file a statement of financial interests within ten days aster receiving notice as provided in clause (f) of section 3 of this chapter, or the filing of an incomplete statement of financial interests after receipt of such a notice, is a violation of this chapter and the commission may initiate appropriate proceedings pursuant to the provisions of section 4 of this chapter.     

[2] For the purposes of M.G.L. c. 268B, "public office" is defined   as: any position for which one is nominated at a state primary or chosen at a state election.,.M.G.L. c. 268B, s.1(p).     

[3] For the purposes of M.G.L. c. 268B, "public official" is defined as: anyone who holds a public office, as defined by clause (p) of this section. - . M.G.L. c. 268B, s.1(q).     

[4] On April 12, 1983. the Commission adopted a schedule for the imposition of civil penalties on those who fail to file timely Statements within ten days after receipt of a Notice. The schedule calls for a daily fine of $10.00 per day for the first ten working days and $20.00 per working day thereafter.     

[5] The Respondent asserts that his participation in the House Budget Debates and the remodeling of his office between May and July caused him to forget to file his Statement as required.  However, disruption such as the Respondent has described can not serve as a mitigating factor where the Respondent was on notice to file his Statement and deliberately chose to delay complying with the law. Compare, In the Matter of David Kopelman, 1989 Ethics Commission 124.

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