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Press Release State Ethics Commission Issues Public Education Letter to Boston Police Officer James Clark

Commission finds reasonable cause to believe Clark violated conflict of interest law by creating phony criminal complaint application to help acquaintance
For immediate release:
6/30/2021
  • David A. Wilson, Executive Director

Media Contact for State Ethics Commission Issues Public Education Letter to Boston Police Officer James Clark

Gerry Tuoti, Public Information Officer

Boston, MAThe State Ethics Commission has issued a Public Education Letter to Boston Police Officer James Clark to resolve allegations that he violated the conflict of interest law by creating a false criminal complaint application for his friend’s brother, who had falsely told his boss that he had missed a day of work due to being arrested. After the Commission found reasonable cause to believe Clark violated the conflict of interest law, he agreed to the issuance of the Public Education Letter and waived his right to an adjudicatory hearing.

In July 2016, Clark’s friend’s brother was an MBTA bus driver who was, under a “Last Chance Agreement,” subject to immediate discharge for any violation of the MBTA’s attendance policy. Fearing he would lose his job after oversleeping and missing his work shift on July 4, 2016, the bus driver decided to try to explain his absence from work by falsely claiming to have been arrested, according to the Public Education Letter. The letter states that Clark initially rebuffed the bus driver’s request to provide him with something to show that he had been arrested, but eventually agreed to do so. According to the letter, Clark admitted to completing a false Application for Criminal Complaint and providing it to the driver, but denied knowing that the driver intended to use it in an attempt to explain an absence from work. Clark testified that he believed his friend’s brother intended to use the criminal complaint application as an alibi to explain to his girlfriend his whereabouts on the night of July 4, 2016, according to the letter.

The Public Education Letter states that the criminal complaint application fabricated by Clark, which falsely stated the bus driver had been arrested on July 4, 2016, was never filed in court and was not entered into any Boston Police Department record system. After MBTA officials learned that no criminal charges had actually been filed against the bus driver, the bus driver admitted that he had missed work because he overslept, explained that he obtained the false criminal complaint application from Clark, and resigned from his job on July 19, 2016, according to the letter.

The conflict of interest law prohibits municipal employees from using or attempting to use their official positions to secure for themselves or others valuable unwarranted privileges or benefits that are not properly available to other persons under similar circumstances. The letter states that Clark violated this prohibition by using his position as a Boston Police Officer to provide his friend’s brother with a false application for criminal complaint as an alibi to support his false claims concerning his whereabouts on July 4, 2016.

The Commission chose to resolve the allegations against Clark through the issuance of the letter rather than through an adjudicatory proceeding because it determined the public interest would be better served by publicly discussing the application of the conflict of interest law to Clark’s alleged actions. The Commission expects that the letter will provide public employees in similar circumstances with a clearer understanding of how to comply with the law.

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.

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Media Contact for State Ethics Commission Issues Public Education Letter to Boston Police Officer James Clark

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.
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