2015 State Ethics Commission Press Releases

2015 Press Releases
  • West Bridgewater Zoning Board of Appeals Member Thomas Snell Pays $6,500 Civil Penalty for Conflict of Interest Law Violations
    The Commission approved a Disposition Agreement in which Thomas Snell, a member of the West Bridgewater Zoning Board of Appeals, admitted to violating the conflict of interest law by participating as a ZBA member in granting variances for two properties while knowing that he had a financial interest in those matters.  Pursuant to the Agreement, Snell paid a $6,500 civil penalty for violating the conflict of interest law.

  • Ethics Commission Issues Public Education Letter to Town of Holland Selectmen and Town Highway Surveyor
    On March 19, 2015, the State Ethics Commission voted to find reasonable cause to believe that Town of Holland Board of Selectmen members James Wettlaufer, Michael Kennedy, Christian Petersen and Lynn Arnold violated the conflict of interest law, by authorizing the use of Town funds to pay for Town Highway Surveyor Brian Johnson’s private civil lawsuit against a local blogger.  The Commission also voted to find reasonable cause to believe that Johnson violated the conflict of interest law by receiving payment of the legal fees in his private civil lawsuit.  Rather than authorizing adjudicatory proceedings, the Commission chose to resolve the matter by issuing a Public Education Letter because the Town has been reimbursed in full and there is a question as to whether the BOS members relied on advice of counsel.

  • Attorney General Maura Healey Appoints Thomas J. Sartory to the State Ethics Commission
    The State Ethics Commission announced that Attorney General Maura Healey has appointed Thomas J. Sartory to a five-year term on the State Ethics Commission.  Commissioner Sartory replaces Commissioner Martin F. Murphy, whose term has expired.

  • Former Marshfield Conservation Commission Chairman Mark Stevenson Pays $2,500 Civil Penalty for Conflict of Interest Law Violations
    The Commission approved a Disposition Agreement in which Mark Stevenson, the former Chairman of the Town of Marshfield Conservation Commission, admitted to violating G.L. c. 268A, the conflict of interest law.  Pursuant to the Agreement, Stevenson paid a $2,500 civil penalty for violating two sections of the law.

  • Ethics Commission Determines that Former Canton Conservation Commission Consultant Robert Murphy Violated the Conflict of Interest Law
    The Commission issued a Decision and Order concluding the adjudicatory proceeding involving Robert Murphy, a former consultant to the Town of Canton Conservation Commission.  In its Decision, the Commission found that Murphy violated sections 17(a) and 23(b)(3) of the conflict of interest law, and ordered Murphy to pay a civil penalty of $10,000.

  • Enforcement Division Alleges that Former MBTA Deputy Chief of Staff Lori Nelson Violated the Financial Disclosure Law
    The Enforcement Division issued an Order to Show Cause alleging that Lori Nelson, a former Deputy Chief of Staff for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, violated the financial disclosure law, by failing to file her Statement of Financial Interests for calendar year 2014. 

  • Former Town of Blandford Selectman Robert Nichols Ordered to Pay $12,500 Civil Penalty for Conflict of Interest Law Violations
    The Ethics Commission issued a Final Order on Summary Decision and Civil Penalty concluding the adjudicatory proceeding involving Robert Nichols, a former member of the Board of Selectmen of the Town of Blandford.  The Commission entered Summary Decision for the Petitioner Enforcement Division and ordered Nichols to pay a $12,500 civil penalty for violating sections 19, 20 and 23(b)(2) of G.L. c. 268A, the conflict of interest law. 

  • Commission Dismisses Adjudicatory Proceeding Involving Former Belmont Council on Aging Home Care Coordinator Kathryn Christopher
    Christopher convicted on one criminal charge for related conduct.

  • Suffolk County Sheriff Steven Tompkins Pays $2,500 Civil Penalty for Violating the Conflict of Interest Law
    The Commission approved a Disposition Agreement in which Steven Tompkins, the Suffolk County Sheriff, admitted to violating the conflict of interest law in 2013 by identifying himself as Sheriff when asking eight business owners in his district to take down his opponent’s campaign signs that were displayed in their shops.  Pursuant to the Agreement, Tompkins paid a $2,500 civil penalty for the violation.

  • Ethics Commission issues Public Education Letter to State Police Trooper Seth Peterson
    On May 21, 2015, the State Ethics Commission voted to find reasonable cause to believe that Massachusetts State Police Trooper Seth Peterson violated the conflict of interest law by using his position as a State Trooper to intervene with a tow company to have a family member’s tow charge reduced, and to deprive the tow company of work to which it would have been entitled, and by participating in an inspection of the tow company, which ultimately resulted in the temporary removal of the company from the regional State Police tow lists.  The Commission chose to resolve the matter by issuing a Public Education Letter rather than through an adjudicatory hearing because the State Police took disciplinary action against Peterson in this matter by imposing a forfeiture of 15 vacation days, at a cost to Peterson of approximately $5,500.

  • Methuen City Councilor Joyce Campagnone Cited for Conflict of Interest Law Violations
    The Commission approved a Disposition Agreement in which Joyce Campagnone, a Methuen City Councilor who is also a full-time paid employee of the Greater Lawrence Sanitary District, admitted to violating the conflict of interest law by having a prohibited financial interest in a municipal contract.  Pursuant to the Agreement, Campagnone paid a $1,000 civil penalty for the violation and made restitution to the City of Methuen in the amount of $4,000.     

  • Former Cambridge Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Joseph Tulimieri Cited for Conflict of Interest Law Violations
    The Commission approved a Disposition Agreement in which Joseph Tulimieri, the former Executive Director of the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, admitted to violating the conflict of interest law, by increasing his own compensation on five separate occasions.  Tulimieri paid a $37,500 civil penalty and was required to also make restitution to the CRA in the amount of $21,245.

  • Ethics Commission Issues Public Education Letter to Somerset Recreation Commission Members
    The Commission voted to find reasonable cause to believe that Somerset Recreation Commission members violated  the conflict of interest law by requesting that the Recreation Department Director hire their family members for summer jobs with the Recreation Department and/or by approving the summer jobs lists in 2012 and 2013 that included those family members or others with whom they had private relationships.  The Commission chose to resolve the matter by issuing a Public Education Letter rather than through an adjudicatory hearing in order to provide other public employees in similar positions and circumstances with a clearer understanding about how to comply with the conflict of interest law.

  • Rutland Department of Public Works Superintendent Gary Kellaher Cited for Conflict of Interest Law Violation

    The Commission approved a Disposition Agreement in which Rutland Department of Public Works Superintendent Gary Kellaher admitted to violating the conflict of interest law by hiring his son into a seasonal DPW position without posting the position.  Kellaher paid a $2,500 civil penalty.

  • Ethics Commission Issues Public Education Letter to Oak Bluffs Fire-Emergency Medical Services Department Chief John Rose

    The Commission voted to find reasonable cause to believe that John Rose, the Chief of the Oak Bluffs Fire-Emergency Medical Services Department, violated section 19 of the conflict of interest law by participating in the hiring and supervision of his immediate family members.  The Commission issued a Public Education Letter rather than authorize an adjudicatory hearing because the Commission recognized that in certain areas of public service, such as fire and police departments, there is a strong family tradition in which many members of the same family pursue the same type of employment and frequently work together or for each other.  The Commission determined that it is particularly important that public employees and their appointing authorities understand how to comply with the conflict of interest law.  

  • Salisbury Selectman Henry Richenburg Pays $2,500 Civil Penalty for Conflict of Interest Law Violations

    The Commission approved a Disposition Agreement in which Henry Richenburg, a member of the Salisbury Board of Selectmen, admitted to violating the conflict of interest law by his actions as Selectman in connection with the BOS’s consideration and approval of an application for a license to operate a poultry business submitted by Richenburg’s son-in-law.  Richenburg paid a $2,500 civil penalty.

  • Ethics Commission’s Enforcement Division Alleges Conflict of Interest Law Violations by Former Blandford Selectmen Chairman Robert Nichols

    The Ethics Commission’s Enforcement Division issued an Order to Show Cause alleging that Robert Nichols, the former Town of Blandford Board of Selectmen Chairman, violated the conflict of interest law, in 2011, by participating in the Town’s decision to hire his private company to prepare bid specifications for repairs to a road and culvert, which were damaged by Hurricane Irene, and by approving the Town’s $12,150 payment to his company for the work.

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