The State Ethics Commission’s Enforcement Division Alleges Former Mass Highway Contractor Project Manager Terry Edwards Gave Bribes/Gratuities to a Construction Inspector
The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission’s Enforcement Division, in an Order to Show Cause issued on April 8, 2008, alleges that a former project manager for a Massachusetts Highway Department (“Mass Highway”) contractor repeatedly violated sections 2 and 3 of G.L. c. 268A, the state’s conflict of interest law, by corruptly giving cash payments to a Mass Highway construction inspector responsible for performing inspections of the contractor’s work. A public hearing will be scheduled within 90 days.
According to the Order to Show Cause, Thomas Kennedy was assigned to inspect the work of contractor P.A. Landers, Inc., on Route 44 near Plymouth in 2002. Kennedy’s duties included inspecting P.A. Landers’ deliveries of asphalt used on the project and certifying asphalt weight slips submitted by the company for payment. While assigned to the project, Kennedy received reimbursement for his gasoline expenses from Mass Highway and was not authorized to receive payments from contractors under his supervision. Despite this, Kennedy asked Edwards for a gas credit card. Edwards refused, but told Kennedy to instead submit his gas receipts for payment.
Thereafter, Kennedy provided Edwards with gas receipts, and Edwards gave Kennedy cash payments on a bi-weekly basis. Edwards’ payments to Kennedy began in May 2002 and continued until November 2002. During this time, Edwards corruptly gave Kennedy a total of between $2,000 and $3,000 in cash payments, with the intent to influence Kennedy’s performance of duties as a Mass Highway construction inspector. In return for the cash payments, Kennedy relaxed his inspections of P.A. Landers’ asphalt deliveries on the Route 44 project. In particular, Kennedy signed weight slips without properly inspecting the asphalt delivered to the project site.
Section 2(a) of the conflict of interest law prohibits anyone from corruptly giving anything of value to a public employee with intent to influence any official act or act within his official responsibility. The Enforcement Division alleges that Edwards repeatedly violated section 2(a) by corruptly giving cash payments in return for Kennedy relaxing his performance of duties as a Mass Highway construction inspector, including asphalt inspections and certifications.
Section 3(a) prohibits anyone from corruptly giving anything of substantial value to a public employee for or because of any official act or act within his official responsibility. The Enforcement Division alleges that Edwards violated section 3(a) by giving cash payments worth $50 or more to influence Kennedy’s performance of duties as a Mass Highway construction inspector, including asphalt inspections and certifications.
The Commission has the authority to impose civil penalties of up to $2,000 per violation.