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  • State Ethics Commission

Settlement  Disposition Agreement in the Matter of Ricardo Arroyo

Date: 06/27/2023
Organization: State Ethics Commission
Docket Number: 23-0009
Referenced Sources: G.L. c. 268A, the Conflict of Interest Law, as Amended by c. 194, Acts of 2011

Table of Contents

Disposition Agreement

The State Ethics Commission (“Commission”) and Ricardo Arroyo (“Arroyo”) enter into this Disposition Agreement pursuant to Section 3 of the Commission’s Enforcement Procedures. This Agreement constitutes a consented-to final order enforceable in the Superior Court, pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, § 4(j). 

On October 20, 2022, the Commission initiated a preliminary inquiry, pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, § 4(a), into possible violations of the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, by Arroyo. On March 23, 2023, the Commission concluded its inquiry and found reasonable cause to believe that Arroyo violated G.L. c. 268A, § 17(c).

The Commission and Arroyo now agree to the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:

Findings of Fact

  1. Arroyo was elected to the Boston City Council in November 2019, and sworn into office on January 6, 2020.  He was re-elected to the position in November 2021.
  2. Prior to becoming a City Councilor, Arroyo entered his appearance as an attorney on behalf of his brother, Felix Arroyo, in a civil action brought against his brother and the City of Boston in Suffolk Superior Court (“the Lawsuit”).
  3. The Lawsuit has attracted media attention since it was filed.  
  4. Arroyo was not paid for his appearance or for any work related to the Lawsuit.
  5. Arroyo did not serve as the lead attorney for his brother in the Lawsuit but conducted and participated in several depositions.
  6. At least three of the depositions Arroyo conducted occurred after he was sworn into office as a Boston City Councilor. One of the depositions Arroyo conducted while serving as City Councilor was of a City of Boston employee and another was of a City contractor.
  7. The Commission’s Enforcement Division contacted Arroyo on August 18, 2022, and again on August 23, 2022, regarding his representation of his brother in the Lawsuit and the concerns that representation raised under the conflict of interest law.
  8. On October 24, 2022, Arroyo asked the lead counsel in the Lawsuit to file a motion to withdraw on his behalf. The motion to withdraw from the Lawsuit was not filed until November 18, 2022.
  9. Arroyo’s withdrawal motion was allowed by the court on February 16, 2023, after which his name was removed from the Lawsuit record.

Conclusions of Law

Section 17(c)

  1. Section 17(c) of General Laws chapter 268A prohibits a municipal employee from, otherwise than in the proper discharge of his official duties, acting as an agent or attorney for anyone other than the municipality in connection with any particular matter in which the municipality is a party or has a direct and substantial interest.
  2. As a Boston City Councilor, Arroyo was, at all relevant times, a City of Boston municipal employee as defined in G.L. c. 268A, § 1(g).
  3. The Lawsuit was a particular matter in which the City of Boston was a party and had a direct and substantial interest.
  4. Notwithstanding his swearing in as a City Councilor in January 2020, Arroyo continued to act as an attorney for his brother in the Lawsuit until November 2022, when he withdrew from the case.
  5. Therefore, by, while serving as a Boston City Councilor, acting as an attorney for his brother in the Lawsuit, a particular matter in which the City of Boston was a party and had a direct and substantial interest, Arroyo violated § 17(c).


In view of the foregoing violations of G.L. c. 268A by Arroyo, the Commission has determined that the public interest would be served by the disposition of this matter without further enforcement proceedings, on the following terms and conditions agreed to by Arroyo:

(1)        that Arroyo pay to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, with such payment to be delivered to the Commission, the sum of $3,000 as a civil penalty for violating G.L. c. 268A, § 17(c); and

(2)        that Arroyo waive all rights to contest, in this or any other administrative or judicial proceeding to which the Commission is or may be a party, the findings of fact, conclusions of law and terms and conditions contained in this Agreement.


By signing below, Arroyo acknowledges that he has personally read this Disposition Agreement, that it is a public document, and that he agrees to its terms and conditions.


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