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Settlement In the Matter of John A. Deleire

Date: 05/14/1985
Organization: State Ethics Commission
Docket Number: 289

Table of Contents

Disposition Agreement

 This disposition agreement (Agreement) is entered into between the State Ethics Commission (Commission) and John DeLeire (Mr. DeLeire) pursuant to s. 11 of the Commission's Enforcement Procedures. This Agreement constitutes a consented to final Commission order enforceable in Superior Court pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, s. 4(d).  

On September 25, 1984, the Commission initiated a preliminary inquiry pursuant to the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, involving Mr. DeLeire, the then police chief of the city of Revere. The Commission concluded its inquiry and on April 2, 1985 found reasonable cause to believe that Mr. DeLeire violated G.L. c. 268A. The parties now agree to the following findings of fact and conclusions of law. 

1. Mr. DeLeire, was chief of the Revere Police Department until approximately March 1, 1985 when he submitted his resignation and applied for a disability pension. He became chief in March 1980, receiving an annual salary of approximately $42,000. As such, he was a municipal employee within the meaning of G.L. c. 268A, s. 1(g).

Suffolk Downs Racetrack

2. Suffolk Downs Racetrack straddles the Revere/Boston border. The stables, dormitories and kitchen are in Revere; the track, grandstands and patron parking are in Boston. Suffolk Downs has its own full-time, private plainclothes security force supplemented on the Boston side with Boston Police Department detail officers and on the Revere side with Revere Police Department detail officers. 

3. For a number of years prior to becoming police chief, Mr. DeLeire was on the Suffolk Downs payroll in one private capacity or another. In the late 1970's he was a private security consultant who, beginning in September

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1979, was placed on salary at $125 per week. He was kept on that salary when he became police chief in March 1980. The salary was increased to $150 per week in March of 1981. 

4. In exchange for this salary, Mr. DeLeire periodically appeared on Saturday and Sunday afternoons at the track clubhouse area on the "Boston-side." His function was to be the "eyes and ears" of the vice-president of operations, to monitor the effectiveness of the private security force and to identify any potential security problems. 

5. On two separate occasions while Mr. DeLeire was chief, in March of 1980 and June of 1981, respectively, at Suffolk Downs' request, he arranged for and supervised special details which were placed at the track's Revere entrances which were being picketed in a union action. 

6. On or about January 1981 Mr. DeLeire as chief also took police preventative actions in response to a tip that an armored truck that would be entering and leaving the track from a Revere entrance would be robbed, 

7. Section 19 of G.L. c. 268A, in pertinent part, prohibits any municipal employee from participating as such in a particular matter In which any business organization by which he is employed has a financial interest. 

8. By arranging and supervising the police details and by responding to the hold-up tip, described in paragraphs 5 and 6, above, Mr. DeLeire participated in particular matters in which his employer, Suffolk Downs, had a financial interest, In each of these instances he therefore violated s. 19. 

9. Section 23(par. 2)(1) of G.L. c. 268A provides that no municipal employee shall "accept other employment which will impair his independence of judgment in the exercise of his official duties." 

10. By accepting a private consulting arrangement with a private entity which has substantial needs for his department's services, especially where that private consulting arrangement involves the same area of expertise for which he is responsible in his public position as chief, Mr. DeLeire violated s. 23 (par.2)(1).

Wonderland Dog Track

11. Wonderland Dog Track is located in Revere. It is owned and operated by the Westwood Group, Inc. The track contracts with a private security firm, Ajay Investigations and Security Services, Inc. (Ajay), which handles plainclothes security. This security is supplemented by 18-20 Revere police officers on detail who are paid in accordance with the established union rates. On any typical racing night, this detail includes a regular police captain as the supervisor of the detail. The work is performed by the officers, including the captain, on other than their normal duty shift, These officers are, however, still serving as police officers when they provide these services and are answerable to the police chief for their conduct, The city bills Wonderland, which in turn pays the city for the detail hours. The city, after subtracting an administrative fee, pays the officers. All of this is done in accordance with G.L. c. 44, 153C. 

12. In or about June 1980, Ajay hired Mr. DeLeire to supervise the uniformed detail officers. Ajay initially paid DeLeire $600 a month for his services, increasing that amount to $750 and $800 in 1983 and 1984, respectively. Ajay was in turn reimbursed by Wonderland for these payments. There was no written contract between Mr. DeLeire and Ajay or Wonderland, No set hours were required, No reports were submitted, Before becoming chief, Mr. DeLeire had no private relationship with Wonderland or Ajay. 

13. In exchange for these monthly payments, Mr. DeLeire periodically visited the track to ensure that the detail officers were present and performing properly. On occasion, he discussed with Wonderland's vice-president for operations concerns Wonderland had as to the detail officers' performance. 

14. The above-described services provided at Wonderland were within Mr. DeLeire's duties and responsibilities as police department chief and covered by his annual city salary. The chief is on duty 24 hours a day. He is responsible for all of the activities of his department, including the providing of detail services to private entities. He is also responsible for enforcing the departments regulations regarding the performing of details and for disciple detail officers for any misconduct. 

15. Section 3(b) of G.L. c. 268A prohibits any municipal employee, otherwise than as provided by law for the proper discharge of official duties, from directly or indirectly seeking or accepting anything of substantial value for himself for or because of any official act or acts within his official responsibility performed or to be performed by him. 

16. By receiving at first $600, then $750 and finally $800 per month from Ajay for the services described in paragraph 13 above, services which were within his official responsibilities and duties as police chief and for which he was already being paid by the city of Revere. Mr. DeLeire received substantial value for or because of his official acts as police chief. Therefore, he violated s. 3(b).  Page 238

Northeast Theatre Corporation, d/b/a Showcase Cinemas

17. In or about July 1982, Northeast Theatre Corporation, d/b/a Showcase Cinemas opened a 10-theater complex in Revere. In preparing to begin operations, Showcase personnel approached Mr. DeLeire to discuss potential security issues in which the Revere Police Department might play a role: traffic and crowd control, cash escort service and responding to stolen vehicles and other crimes. Showcase was particularly concerned that a minimum number of uniform police officers would be present at the facility on a regular basis to meet their security needs. This was especially true of Friday and Saturday nights. 

18. Mr. DeLeire and Showcase also discussed matters regarding the internal security within the theatre property including crowd control, parking lot security needs, handling of cash inside the theatre complex and related security matters not on public property. 

19. Mr. DeLeire indicated to Showcase that he could consult on internal security matters with Showcase on his off-duty time and that this type of work had been approved by a Revere City Solicitor provided the services did not interfere with his official duties and were on his off-duty time. Mr. DeLeire indicated he was being paid privately for security services for other companies in Revere,  

20. Mr. DeLeire and Showcase agreed that when the theatre complex opened payment of approximately $20 per hour would be appropriate for his services which were anticipated to involve an average of 5 hours a week, i.e. pay of $100 per week. A portion of Mr. DeLeire's pay was to be attributed to Mr. DeLeire arranging for and supervising uniform police officers on detail to meet security needs. 

21. Mr. DeLeire began receiving $100 a week payments on July 23, 1982. The payments were made by check, recorded on the books of Showcase, and taxes were appropriately withheld. These payments stopped in January 1985 when the employment arrangement ended.

22. In July of 1982 Mr. DeLeire began periodically appearing at the theatre complex to perform the services for Showcase described in paragraphs one and two above. 

23. Mr. DeLeire was not able to arrange for sufficient uniform detail police officers for Showcase, so that Showcase in early-August employed special police officers who were not regular uniform police officers of the department but were allowed to wear a uniform and badge, carry a gun and have the power of arrest.[1] Thereafter, until his employment with Showcase ended, Chief DeLeire included supervising the special police as part of the services he provided to Showcase. 

24. Mr. DeLeire had as one of his general responsibilities supervision of special police officers. 

25. The agreement by Mr. DeLeire to arrange and supervise uniform detail police, his supervising such police for a few weeks in July through August 1982, and his subsequent supervision of special police officers until January 1985, were within Mr. DeLeire's duties and responsibilities as police department chief. These were duties and responsibilities covered by his annual city salary. By receiving a portion[2] of the $100 weekly payments from Showcase for these services, Mr. DeLeire received substantial value for or because of his official acts as police chief. Therefore, he violated (3(b). 

26. The Commission has found no evidence of corrupt intent by Mr. DeLeire. or Showcase. Nor did it find any evidence that Showcase ever asked for or that Mr. DeLeire provided any special or favorable treatment as police chief to benefit Showcase during the period of his employment by Showcase.[3] In fact, Mr. DeLeire on one occasion publicly opposed the issuance of a valuable license to Showcase for the operation of a "flea market" and cited traffic and public safety reasons for his opposition. 

27. In his defense to all of the above-described violations involving Suffolk Downs, Wonderland, and Showcase, Mr. DeLeire has relied on city solicitors' opinions. First, he points to the prior city solicitors' opinion in July of 1972 to the then fire chief as to whether

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 that fire chief could be paid privately by Suffolk Downs for performing certain services: fire chief in Suffolk Downs' stable area. The Commission gives no deference to this opinion: it is not to Mr. DeLeire, it involves a different department chief, and it is more than 9 years old. 

Secondly, Mr. DeLeire states that the city solicitor orally informed --- when he accepted his employment with Suffolk Downs and Wonderland that no conflict of interest would be created, The Commission gives no deference to this oral opinion. It does not appear to have involved the detailed submission of facts contemplated by G.L. c. 268A, s. 22.[4] Nor will the Commission give deference to oral advice. 

Third, Mr. DeLeire points to a written solicitor's opinion received on November 7, 1984[5] confirming earlier advice that the chief may "moonlight" the same as many other police officer so long as the services to be provided did not interfere with his powers and duties a chief during his regular working hours. The Commission gives no deference to this opinion in that it does not appear to be based on a detailed submission of facts; moreover, it is substantially after the fact (the majority of Mr. DeLeire's compensation was received prior to that date); and finally, for the reasons discussed above, Mr. DeLeire's "moonlighting" did interfere with (Suffolk Downs) or already involve (Wonderland and Showcase his duties as chief.

Based on the foregoing facts, the Commission has determined that the public interest would be served by the disposition of this matter without further enforcement proceedings on the basis of the following terms agreed to by Mr. DeLeire:

1. that he pay to the Commission the sum of two thousand dollars ($2,000) as a civil penalty for his violations of ss. 19 and 23(par. 2)(1) in participating in particular matters in which Suffolk Downs had a financial interest, and in accepting employment which will impair his independence of judgment in the performance of his official duties, respectively; 

2. that he pay the Commission the sum of two thousand dollars ($2,000) as a civil penalty for violating G.L. c. 268A, (3(b) by receiving compensation from Wonderland Dog Track for or because of official acts he performed.  

3. that he pay the Commission the sum of two thousand dollars ($2,000) as a civil penalty for violating G.L. c. 268A, (3(b) by receiving compensation from Showcase Cinemas for or because of official acts he performed; and 

4. that he waive all rights to contest findings of fact, conclusions of law and conditions contained in this Agreement in this or any related administrative or judicial proceeding in which the Commission is a party.

[1] Revere City Ordinance 2.60.100 

[2] To the extent Chief DeLeire had a private security consulting arrangement with Showcase not involving his duties and responsibilities as chief, that employment arrangement was prohibited under G.L. c 265A, s. 23(par. 2)(1). Section 23(par. 2)(1), which would apply only to Mr. Deleire and not to Showcase, bars a public official from accepting other employment which will impair his independence of judgment in the exercise of his official duties. Section 23(par. 2)(1) would prohibit a police chief from accepting private employment with an entity with substantial needs for his department's services, especially where the private consulting involves security matters. See EC-COI 81-133. See also In the Matter of Henry A. Brawley (1982 Disposition Agreement, Docket No. 152.  

[3] Other than the 13 violation which is the subject of this disposition agreement.  

[4] Section 22 provides in pertinent part: any municipal employee shall be entitled to the opinion of the corporate counsel, city solicitor or town counsel upon any question arising under this chapter relating to the duties, responsibilities and interests or such employee... The town counsel or city solicitor shall file such, opinion in writing with the city or town clerk and such opinion shall be a matter of public record; however, no opinion will be rendered by the town counsel or city Solicitor except upon the submission of detailed existing facts which raise a question of actual or prospective violation of any provision of this chapter. 

[5] The 1984 opinion is, remarkable in making no reference to G.L c. 268A and in not discussing the specifics of the private employment contemplated.