Former State Auditor A. Joseph DeNucci Admits to Violating the Conflict of Interest Law and Pays a $2,000 Civil Penalty

State Ethics Commission/August 01, 2011
The State Ethics Commission (“Commission”) has concluded the adjudicatory proceeding involving former State Auditor A. Joseph DeNucci (“DeNucci”) by approving a Disposition Agreement (“Agreement”) in which DeNucci admitted to violating G.L. c 268A, the conflict of interest law, and agreed to pay a $2,000 civil penalty, and by dismissing the adjudicatory hearing.

The adjudicatory proceeding was initiated on September 9, 2010 by the Commission’s Enforcement Division filing an Order to Show Cause alleging that DeNucci violated section 23 of the conflict of interest law by hiring his cousin, Guy Spezzano (“Spezzano”), to a fraud examiner position with the Office of the State Auditor’s (“OSA”) Bureau of Special Investigations (“BSI”).

 According to the Agreement, in January 2008, DeNucci suggested to Spezzano, his unemployed, 75 year-old first cousin, that Spezzano work at the OSA.  Spezzano submitted an incomplete employment application on February 7, 2008, but was nonetheless interviewed for a position on February 14, 2008.  DeNucci offered Spezzano a full-time fraud examiner position by letter dated March 24, 2008, and Spezzano began work in the BSI’s Brockton Office on June 2, 2008 at an annual salary of $40,545, plus benefits.  The Agreement states that Spezzano did not meet the requirements for the position based on the position’s job description.  Spezzano worked until going out on sick leave on December 1, 2009, and was terminated in April after exhausting all sick leave benefits.

Section 23(b)(2) of the conflict law prohibits a state employee from knowingly, or with reason to know, using or attempting to use his official position to secure for himself or others, unwarranted privileges which are of substantial value and which are not available to similarly situated individuals.  According to the Agreement, DeNucci violated section 23(b)(2) by directing his staff to interview, and then by hiring, his unqualified 75 year-old cousin for a position at the OSA

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