|Organization:||State Ethics Commission|
Settlement In the Matter of Wolfgang Bauer
Table of Contents
The State Ethics Commission ("Commission") and Wolfgang Bauer
("Bauer") enter into this Disposition Agreement ("Agreement")
pursuant to s.5 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, s.4(j).
On March 30, 1994, the Commission initiated, pursuant to G.L.
c. 268B, s.4(j), a preliminary inquiry into possible violations of
the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, by Bauer. The
Commission has concluded its inquiry and, on April 11, 1995, found
reasonable cause to believe that Bauer violated G.L. c. 268A, s.3.
The Commission and Bauer now agree to the following findings
of fact and conclusions of law:
Findings of Fact
1. Bauer is the Franklin town administrator. As town
administrator, Bauer is the chief executive officer of the town and
is responsible for the effective administration of all town affairs
placed in his charge by or under the town charter.
2. As town administrator, Bauer occasionally participates in
matters concerning private construction projects in town. For
example, Bauer occasionally attends meetings of and makes
recommendations to the zoning board of appeals, the planning board
and the conservation commission. He is involved in matters
concerning zoning bylaw enforcement, bond posting, the setting of
commercial developers fees and establishing development conditions
(such as betterments, sidewalks, traffic studies, etc.). Bauer
also appoints, subject to the consent of the City Council, and has
the ability to terminate the building inspector and other major
3. During the relevant period, Patrick Marguerite
("Marguerite") and Francis Molla ("Molla") were builders/developers
each independently involved in various private construction
projects in the Town of Franklin. Marguerite and Molla had
completed projects, had pending projects and expected to have
additional projects in Franklin. In connection with these
projects, they each have had matters before the building
department, the planning board and the conservation commission. In
furtherance of these projects, both Marguerite and Molla have had
dealings with various town officials including Bauer as town
4. At all times here relevant, Marguerite, Molla and/or
their families owned an apartment building in Franklin called the
Union Square Apartments.
5. In February 1992, Bauer was looking for an inexpensive
apartment to rent until his divorce was resolved, as he was living
out of a hotel room. The Union Square Apartments had many vacancies.
6. Bauer, Marguerite and Molla entered into an oral
agreement that allowed Bauer to rent one of the vacant Union Square
two bedroom apartments at a reduced rent ("the apartment"). Bauer,
Marguerite and Molla testified that they agreed that Bauer could
rent the apartment at the reduced rate until Molla and Marguerite
could rent the apartment at the prevailing market rate, at which
time Bauer would either have to leave or pay the full rent.
7. Union Square two bedroom apartments rented for $500 and
up per month. There were no set rental values for all two bedroom
apartments, as the
apartments were assigned rental values based upon their distance
from the end of the building; farthest away from the railroad
tracks had a higher rent, and those next to the railroad tracks had
a lower rent. Molla, or his agent, selected the apartment
that Bauer would occupy based on the existing vacancies. Bauer and
Molla testified that Bauer paid $200 rent each month for the
apartment he occupied. There were always vacancies during Bauer's
8. Bauer rented the apartment under this arrangement from
February 1992 until September 1994 (31 months), when Marguerite
and Molla transferred ownership of the apartment building to a bank
in lieu of foreclosure.
Conclusions of Law
9. Section 3(b) of G.L. c. 268A prohibits a municipal
employee from accepting anything of substantial value for or
because of any official act or act within his official
responsibility performed or to be performed by him.
10. Anything with a value of $50 or more is of substantial
value for s.3 purposes.
11. The above-described reduced rent rate was of substantial
value each month.
12. By accepting a reduced rental rate each month while he
then was, recently had been and/or soon would be in a position to
take official action concerning Marguerite's and Molla's projects
in town, Bauer accepted an item of substantial value for or
because of official acts or acts within his official responsibility
performed or to be performed by him. In doing so he violated G.L.
c. 268A, s.3(b) each month.
13. The Commission is aware of no evidence that the rental
arrangement referenced above was provided to Bauer with the intent
to influence any specific act by him as town administrator. The
Commission is also aware of no evidence that Bauer took any
official action concerning any of Marguerite's or Molla's projects
in return for the gratuities. However, even though the gratuities
were only intended to foster official goodwill, they were still
14. Bauer fully cooperated with the Commission's
In view of the foregoing violation of G.L. c. 268A by Bauer,
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 and
conditions agreed by Bauer:
(1) that Bauer pay to the Commission the sum of ten thousand
dollars ($10,000) as a civil penalty for his course of conduct
in violation G.L. c. 268A, s.3; and
(2) that Bauer waive all rights to contest the findings of
fact, conclusions of law and terms and conditions contained in
this agreement or any other related administrative or judicial
proceedings to which the Commission is or may be a party.