The State Ethics Commission has ruled that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Wolf cannot be governor or even continue to hold his state Senate seat unless he divests himself of his minority interest in Cape Air because of the firm’s business relationships with the Massachusetts Port Authority.
The commission gave the ruling after Wolf requested it review his 23 percent ownership of the company to make sure he would not be in violation of the state’s conflict of interest law.
Wolf, a Harwich Democrat who was elected to the state Senate in 2010, said he intends to appeal the ruling and will continue to serve as state senator and to campaign for governor. He released the opinion Wednesday afternoon.
The commission concluded that Cape Air’s contracts with Massport that allow the airline to operate out of Logan Airport raise “substantial issues” under the statute that prohibits state officials from having a financial interest in state contracts. Massport is a quasi-public agency whose board is controlled by the governor.
“Consequently, to comply with the law, he must do one of the following: terminate the Cape Air contracts with Massport; entirely and permanently divest his holdings in Cape Air; or resign his current public office and discontinue his campaign for Governor,’’ the commission said in its ruling, delivered to Wolf last Friday.
Wolf, who is a dark horse candidate to succeed Governor Deval Patrick, is hoping to use his business background to promote his candidacy for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. He created Cape Air 25 years ago and the company now has more than 1,000 employees and is an employee-owned firm.
He just recently announced plans for a statewide tour to build up grassroots support for his campaign.