Thursday, 4:30 PM
Ethics Commission fines former Methuen mayor
By Christine McConville, Globe Staff
The state Ethics Commission announced today that it fined former Methuen mayor Sharon Pollard $4,000 for violating the state’s conflict-of-interest law by funneling money to a nonprofit preservation group that she founded.
Several years ago, Brooks Pharmacy sought city permission to build a new store on Howe Street in Methuen. The pharmacy and the city agreed that Brooks would pay the city $650,000 to mitigate traffic problems created by a new store.
However, Ethics Commission found that Pollard directed $200,000 of that money to the Methuen Festival of Trees, the mayor's nonprofit historic preservation group. According to the commission's report, Pollard arranged for the transaction without notifying the city council or seeking its permission.
The state's conflict-of-interest law prohibits a public employee from using or attempting to use "an unwarranted privilege of substantial value not properly available to similarly situated individuals," the report states.
"By acting as mayor on a matter in which a private organization she confounded had a substantial financial interest, Pollard violated this section of the law," the commission found.