• This page, Former Hampden Selectman Vincent Villamaino pays $4,000 Civil Penalty for Violating Conflict of Interest Law, is offered by
  • State Ethics Commission
Press Release

Press Release Former Hampden Selectman Vincent Villamaino pays $4,000 Civil Penalty for Violating Conflict of Interest Law

Villamaino acted as Selectman concerning his country club, customer and neighbor
For immediate release:
11/10/2021
  • David A. Wilson, Executive Director

Media Contact for Former Hampden Selectman Vincent Villamaino pays $4,000 Civil Penalty for Violating Conflict of Interest Law

Gerry Tuoti, Public Information Officer

Boston, MAFormer Hampden Selectman Vincent Villamaino violated two sections of the conflict of interest law by participating as a selectman in matters involving a country club he belonged to, had done private work for, and resided next to. Villamaino signed a Disposition Agreement in which he admitted to the violations, waived his right to a hearing, and paid a $4,000 civil penalty.

While a selectman, Villamaino owned and resided on property directly next to the private GreatHorse country club and golf course, of which he was a member. Villamaino owned a paving company that did paid work for GreatHorse on several occasions from 2016 through 2018.

In January 2016, the Commission’s Enforcement Division cautioned Villamaino in a private letter that participating as a selectman in matters concerning GreatHorse might violate the conflict of interest law and advised him to abstain from matters coming before the Board of Selectmen involving GreatHorse.

In July 2016, GreatHorse representatives appeared before the Board of Selectmen to present a plan to connect Hampden to the water and sewer system in East Longmeadow. GreatHorse required public water and sewer service to build housing on its property as part of an expansion plan. Villamaino did not recuse himself from the July 2016 meeting and in 2017 discussed the water and sewer plan at two Selectmen’s meetings.

At a September 2017 Selectmen’s meeting, the board considered a proposal to establish an economic development-promoting District Improvement Financing arrangement that would encompass GreatHorse and create a funding stream for the proposed water and sewer plan. Villamaino moved to approve placing the proposed District Improvement Financing on a Special Town Meeting warrant.

The conflict of interest law prohibits municipal employees from participating in their official capacities matters in which they or their private businesses have a financial interest. As a GreatHorse abutter and as the owner of a company with a recent history of paving for GreatHorse that was likely to work on the country club’s planned expansion, Villamaino had a financial interest in GreatHorse’s planned expansion and the water and sewer plan that would make it possible. Thus, Villamaino violated the conflict of interest law when he participated as a selectman in the proposed water and sewer plan and the District Improvement Financing proposal.

The conflict of interest law also prohibits public employees from acting in a way that makes it appear that they are likely to act with favoritism or bias in their official actions. Given his GreatHorse membership, the location of his property next to the club, and the paving work his company had done for the club, Villamaino violated this prohibition by acting as a selectman in matters related to GreatHorse. While Villamaino could have avoided this second violation by filing a public disclosure describing the circumstances that created the appearance of likely bias, he did not do so.

The Commission encourages public employees to contact the Commission’s Legal Division at 617-371-9500 for free advice if they have any questions regarding how the conflict of interest law may apply to them.

###

Media Contact for Former Hampden Selectman Vincent Villamaino pays $4,000 Civil Penalty for Violating Conflict of Interest Law

State Ethics Commission 

The State Ethics Commission is an independent state agency that administers and enforces the provisions of the conflict of interest law and financial disclosure law.
Feedback