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March 11, 2013

State regulators allege kickbacks in Lawrence

BOSTON - State ethics regulators today alleged the owner of a publishing company paid kickbacks to two Lawrence public school employees in exchange for business.

Wellington Housing Publishing owner Algird Sunskis, a former teacher in Lawrence, allegedly paid kickbacks on three occasions to the city’s school system to obtain contracts, according to the State Ethics Commission.

In formally announcing alleged violations of the state’s conflict of interest laws, the commission said Sunskis paid hundreds of dollars in kickbacks to school employee John Laurenza in return for Laurenza falsely certifying that Wellington Publishing was the low bidder on a contract to buy 10,000 pocket folders, and a contract to purchase 15,000 carbon biweekly timesheets.

Officials also alleged that in 2008 Sunskis paid a $2,200 kickback to school employee Charles Birchall to issue a purchase order for a folding machine. The city paid Wellington Publishing $4,950 for the machine, which ethics regulators say was never delivered to the school system.

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