EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

August 22, 2013

Ethics Commission drops conflict of interest case against ex-teacher

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — LAWRENCE — The state Ethics Commission has decided to drop its case against former teacher Algird Sunskis, who was accused of paying kickbacks to other Lawrence Public School employees.

The commission had previously fined two former LPS employees for accepting bribes from Wellington House Publishing Co., a now defunct company Sunskis owned.

But yesterday, the commission gave very little explanation for its decision to dismiss enforcement action against Sunskis.

“In taking this action, the Commission did not make any determination as to whether Sunskis violated the state conflict of interest law, but rather dismissed the proceedings for the reason stated in the Joint Motion, i.e., that Sunskis was evaluated on June 27, 20013, and the written report of that evaluation, which has been impounded, indicates that Sunskis is ‘not appropriate for prosecution’,” the commission announced in a one-page press release.

Sunskis could not be reached for comment.

The commission’s Enforcement Division earlier this year alleged that Sunskis paid kickbacks on three occasions to LPS employees to obtain LPS contracts. In October 2011, graphics department clerk Charles Birchall agreed to pay $8,449 in fines and restitution after admitting he accepted a $2,200 bribe to order the folding machine from Sunskis’ company, Wellington House Publishing.

In June of last year, former graphics designer John Laurenza paid $4,536 in fines and restitution after admitting he misrepresented Sunskis’ company as the low bidder on contracts for employee time sheets and other materials valued at more than $9,000.