Ethics panel fines Ricardo Arroyo in conflict of interest case

Boston City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo has agreed to pay a $3,000 fine for violating state conflict of interest laws.

Arroyo admitted that he provided legal representation to his brother Felix Arroyo in a lawsuit against his brother and the city of Boston, even after Ricardo Arroyo was elected as a Boston City Councilor.

The state Ethics Commission decision said that Arroyo entered an appearance as an attorney on behalf of his brother in the civil suit before he became a city councilor in January of 2020. After Arroyo was sworn into office, he continued to participate in the case as an attorney, including in the deposition of a city of Boston employee. The law required Arroyo to stop representing his brother when he took office.

"Arroyo’s representation of his brother in the lawsuit involving the City of Boston while serving as a City Councilor violated the conflict of interest law’s prohibition against municipal employees, including elected officials, acting as agent or attorney for anyone other than the municipality in connection with matters in which the municipality is a party or has a direct and substantial interest," said an Ethics Commission press release.

Nothing Ricardo Arroyo did "negatively impacted the City or its interests," according to his attorney Zachary Lown.

"In August of 2022 he was informed that his representation may be a conflict of interest. Councilor Arroyo immediately began the process of withdrawal by seeking legal counsel as to his legal and professional responsibilities to his client regarding his withdrawal," Lown said in a statement, noting that Arroyo withdrew five months before the commission made its finding.

The State Ethics Commission said its investigators contacted Arroyo twice in August 2022 regarding his representation of his brother in the lawsuit. A motion to withdraw from the lawsuit was filed on November 18, 2022, which was allowed on February 18, 2023, removing Arroyo’s name from the record. Arroyo was not paid for his legal representation work.

This article was originally published on June 27, 2023.


Deborah Becker Host/Reporter
Deborah Becker is a senior correspondent and host at WBUR. Her reporting focuses on mental health, criminal justice and education.



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