No Bribe, Just a Thanks

fly fishing

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Ethics Commission fined Norfolk property developer Jack Scott for violating section 3 of M.G.L. c. 268A, the conflict of interest law, by offering an illegal gift to a municipal employee. Scott offered a free week’s stay at his fly-fishing cabin in Pennsylvania to the chairman of the Norfolk Conservation Commission at a time when Scott had matters pending before the Commission.

My favorite part is this statement from Scott to the Chairman in an email:

Lastly when you step down from the commission so no one in this dame [sic] town can say anything about anything my cabin is yours for a week with your family… the best trout fishing in the east and great for the kids. Jeff no bribe just a thanks for being on the up and up with us regardless of how this all plays out. [my emphasis]

Just saying something is not a bribe does not work. If you offer something of value to a public official when you have a matter in front of the public official, it’s going to be considered a bribe.

Press release: Norfolk Property Developer Jack Scott Fined $2,000

Decision and Order in Mass. Ethics Comm. In the Matter of John F. Scott – hosted on JD Supra

Image is by koliver