The State Ethics Commission fined a former computer technology salesman $35,000 for paying a now-deceased state transportation official in an effort to win two public contracts for the salesman’s company, authorities said.
John Dunnet, a former salesman for CBE Holdings LLC, wrote 32 personal checks totaling $142,500 to the former information technology director at the state Executive Office of Transportation between October 2006 and December 2007, according to a disposition agreement between Dunnet and the commission that was made public Wednesday. The executive office has since been merged into the state Department of Transportation.
Dunnet could not be reached for comment. Officials did not release his age or current place of residence.
Cyndi Roy, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Department, identified the deceased official as Gerald Foley. She said the agency learned of the suspected payoffs shortly after Foley’s death in February 2008 and alerted authorities. Officials did not release details of the cause of Foley’s death Thursday.
Jake Wark, a spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, said his office investigated but declined to bring criminal charges in the payoff case and reported the matter to the Ethics Commission. “The evidence would not have supported criminal charges under the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” Wark said.
‘The evidence would not have supported criminal charges under the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.’
Foley earned $90,726 in 2007, according to state payroll records.
According to a death notice, he was 37 when he died and had lived in Webster with his wife and three children. A person with knowledge of his death who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter said Foley was found unresponsive inside a restroom at work. Unattended deaths require an autopsy in Massachusetts, unless the cause is obvious, said Terrel Harris, a spokesman for the agency that oversees the state medical examiner’s office. He said he had no information Thursday night on the cause of Foley’s death.
According to the disposition agreement that Dunnet signed, he paid Foley in an effort to win two contracts totaling about $2.4 million for CBE. The company paid Dunnet on commission, and he earned between 18 to 25 percent of the gross profit on any sales he made, according to the agreement.
One of the contracts in question, which the commission described as a roughly $2 million “statewide telephony systems contract,” was never awarded, and the transportation office notified vendors in February 2008 that it was canceled, the commission said.
In December 2007, Foley signed a notice awarding the other contract, worth approximately $384,000, to CBE and a hardware vendor, according to the agreement. Roy said that contract was for computers in the transportation office.
According to the the agreement, neither CBE nor the transportation office knew of the payoffs until after Foley’s death.
A private equity group acquired the assets of the government contracting division of CBE, which were renamed CBE Technologies LLC, the agreement said. A CBE Technologies representative could not be reached for comment Thursday night.