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Ethics Commission Concludes the Adjudicatory Proceeding Involving Former State Representative Demetrius Atsalis

atsalis-social-01The State Ethics Commission approved a Final Order and Disposition Agreement  involving former State Representative Demetrius Atsalis.

According to the Agreement, Atsalis admitted to violating M.G.L. c. 268B, the financial disclosure law, by failing to timely file his 2012 Statement of Financial Interests (“SFI”), and paid a $100 civil penalty.

On March 6, 2014, the Commission’s Enforcement Division issued an Order to Show Cause (“OTSC”) alleging that Atsalis, a West Hyannisport resident, violated the financial disclosure law by filing his 2012 SFI 62 days late, and, therefore, owed a $700 civil penalty. Atsalis’ 2012 financial statements were required to be filed on May 28, 2013.

The Commission sent Atsalis a Formal Notice of Lateness (“Notice”) by first class mail on June 5, 2013, notifying him that he had 10 days to file, or he would be subject to a civil penalty.

Atsalis did not file until August 19, 2013, 62 days after the end of the 10-day grace period. 

Atsalis also failed to pay the $700 civil penalty.

After the OTSC was issued, Atsalis contacted the commission and stated that he did not timely receive the notice. According to the agreement, the commission sent the notice to the post office box provided by Atsalis on both his 2010 and 2011 SFIs as his mailing address.

Apparently, in electronically filing his 2010 financial statements, Atsalis transposed two numbers of his post office box, providing an incorrect mailing address. The error was carried over to the next year’s SFI and was not noticed or corrected by Atsalis.

Atsalis informed the Commission that the Notice was eventually forwarded to the correct post office box. Although the exact date of receipt could not be established, Atsalis contacted the Commission on August 8, 2013, and acknowledged that he had received the Notice, and he filed his SFI 11 days later. Since August 8, 2013 was the earliest date on which receipt could be established, the 10-day grace period began on that date. Atsalis filed one day after the end of the grace period. Based on the Commission’s fine schedule for late submission of an SFI, the civil penalty for filing one day late is $100.

The financial disclosure law requires elected state and county officials, candidates for state office and state and county employees in designated policy-making positions to annually disclose their financial interests and private business associations by filing an SFI with the Commission each year. Atsalis was required to file a 2012 SFI because he held the office of state representative for more than 30 days in 2012.

 

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan is president and publisher of The Valley Patriot Newspaper in North Andover Massachusetts, a former Lawrence School Committeeman, former political director for Mass. Citizens Alliance, a 1990 Police Survivor and hosts the Paying Attention! Radio Program on 980WCAP in Lowell, Massachusetts. You can email your comments to valleypatriot@aol.com.

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