Arnold mayor fined $10,000 for state ethics violations |
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Tom Davidson

Outgoing Arnold Mayor Karen Peconi has been fined $10,000 by the State Ethics Commission for violations of ethics laws during her time as a city official.

The Ethics Commission ruled that Peconi violated state ethics laws when she intervened in her son’s application to the city’s police department and failed to file proper financial statements.

No further action will be taken against Peconi if she complies with paying the fine, the commission said.

The mayor didn’t return messages seeking comment left on her cellphone and was not in her office Tuesday. A city council meeting was set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, and she was expected to attend.

Peconi was defeated in last month’s Democratic primary.

The Ethics Commission found Peconi committed the violations when she used her position as a member of the Arnold Civil Service Board to garner favorable treatment for her son, Wesley, who ultimately was hired in June 2014 by the city as a police officer.

Peconi obtained questions for an oral exam given to candidates for the police force and substituted one of the questions on the test given to her son, which skewed the results and gave him the highest point total possible, the commission found.

As a council member, she lobbied for her son and against the other candidates for the job, attempted to advance his prospects by noting he was the top-scorer on the civil service exam and threatened a lawsuit against the city if he was not hired for the job.

Although she ultimately didn’t cast a vote when her son was hired, she violated state ethics laws with her actions, the commission found.

The commission also found Peconi violated ethics laws when she filed deficient statements of financial interests in 2014, 2015 and 2016 by failing to disclose income from the city and failing to disclose that she worked for Verizon during those years.

Peconi has since filed amended financial interest statements for those year, the commission said.

The fine ultimately will go to the city, but will be paid through the commission so it can be tracked, according to Robert Caruso, the commission’s executive director. As part of a consent agreement between Peconi and the commission, she is not allowed to be reimbursed by the city to cover the cost of the fine.

Arnold solicitor Dave Regoli declined to comment on the matter because he was only made aware of it by the Trib.

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