- David A. Wilson, Executive Director
Media Contact for State Ethics Commission Announces Enforcement Actions Against Four Templeton Planning Board Members
Gerry Tuoti, Public Information Officer
Boston, MA — Templeton Planning Board members Kirk Moschetti, Frank Moschetti, and John Buckley have admitted to violating the conflict of interest law by participating in Planning Board decisions related to proposals to re-zone areas where they and their families owned property. Planning Board Chair Kirk Moschetti has paid a $5,000 civil penalty, and Frank Moschetti and Buckley have each paid a $2,000 civil penalty. In addition, the State Ethics Commission’s Enforcement Division has issued an Order to Show Cause alleging Templeton Planning Board member Charles Carroll violated the conflict of interest law in connection with the same set of facts.
After the Commission found reasonable cause to believe the four Planning Board members violated the conflict of interest law, Kirk Moschetti, Frank Moschetti, and Buckley agreed to resolve the matter by signing Disposition Agreements, in which they admitted to the violations, agreed to pay the civil penalties, and waived their right to contest the Commission’s findings. Carroll did not sign a Disposition Agreement. The Commission will schedule a public hearing on the allegations against Carroll within 90 days.
At a July 2017 meeting, the Planning Board discussed proposing two warrant articles to Town Meeting to re-zone certain areas of the town to increase Templeton’s commercial property tax base. At the time, Planning Board members or their families owned property that would be affected by the zoning proposals. Planning Board Chair Kirk Moschetti owned residential property in the area and was interested in purchasing an automobile storage business with a pre-existing nonconforming commercial-use status in a residential zone. His father, Frank Moschetti, owned residential property and a septic business with a pre-existing nonconforming commercial-use status in a residential zone. Buckley and his wife each owned residential property and jointly owned a campground with a pre-existing nonconforming commercial-use status in a residential zone. In the Order to Show Cause, the Commission’s Enforcement Division alleges that Carroll’s father owned and rented out a residential property in one of the areas to be rezoned under the proposals.
The Planning Board held a public hearing on the zoning proposals, which were then added to the agenda for the November 2017 Town Meeting, where they did not pass. In November 2018, the Planning Board met to discuss submitting the unsuccessful zoning proposals to the spring 2019 Town Meeting. During the meeting, Kirk Moschetti stated in response to questions from members of the public that, “Ethics was not up for discussion.” After many Templeton residents expressed opposition, the Planning Board decided to recommend only one of the two zoning proposals to Town Meeting.
In December 2018, the Planning Board held a public hearing on the rezoning proposal including Kirk Moschetti’s business property. Moschetti participated in discussions and a vote related to proposing a zoning change of parcels including his own. The zoning proposal was placed on the agenda for the Spring 2019 Town Meeting, where Moschetti answered residents’ questions about the proposal. The rezoning article passed.
The conflict of interest law prohibits municipal employees from officially participating in matters in which they or their immediate family have a financial interest. Kirk Moschetti, Frank Moschetti, and Buckley violated this legal prohibition by, acting as members of the Planning Board, discussing and voting on proposals to re-zone areas of the town that included property they owned. The proposed zoning changes would allow greater opportunities to develop the property with fewer restrictions, increasing its value. Their financial interests in the proposed zoning changes were not shared by a substantial segment of Templeton’s population. In the Order to Show Cause, the Commission’s Enforcement Division alleges that Carroll also violated this legal prohibition by participating as a Planning Board member in discussions and votes regarding the proposed zoning change that would have affected his father’s property.
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.