This in from the Office of State Ethics:
Norwalk Community College President David Levinson pays $3,000 Penalty to Settle Allegations of Violations of the Code of Ethics
Authorized use of state funds to pay for his wife’s attendance at events
Hartford – Dr. David Levinson, president of Norwalk Community College (“NCC”), entered into a consent order settling allegations that he violated the Code of Ethics when he authorized the use of state funds to pay for his wife’s attendance and/or registration at four events in 2010. Dr. Levinson, a Westport resident, paid a civil penalty to the Office of State Ethics totaling $3,000: $1,000 for violating section 1-84 (c) of the Code of Ethics, and $2,000 for violating Section 1-86 (a).
Three of the four events at issue were charity and social events held for the benefit of entities other than NCC, and the final event was a conference held in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Levinson’s wife accompanied him to each of the events. Payment for each of these events was made using state funds that had previously been granted to NCC by the Norwalk Community College Foundation, a private foundation that is affiliated with NCC. Dr. Levinson’s wife was not a state employee at the time of the events, and did not hold any formal role at NCC or at the Foundation. Following the initiation of the Enforcement Division’s investigation into Dr. Levinson’s conduct, Dr. Levinson reimbursed NCC for the expenditures he authorized, plus interest.
Section 1-84(c) of the Connecticut General Statutes prohibits a state employee from using his public office or position to obtain financial gain for, among others, himself or a spouse. Section 1-86(a) prohibits a state employee from taking action that would affect the financial interest of, among others, his spouse and requires a state employee who is faced with such conflicts of interests to (1) prepare a written statement that describes the matter requiring action and the conflict to the employee’s superior, so that the action may be assigned to another employee, or (2) contact the Office of State Ethics and take steps as the Office so advises. Dr. Levinson did not prepare a written statement nor did he contact the Office of State Ethics to solicit advice.
In the Consent Order, Dr. Levinson denied that his actions violated the Code of Ethics, and stated that he believed that the Foundation (which had granted the money to the state) was aware that he was authorizing funds for his wife’s attendance at events and had approved. Dr. Levinson agreed to resolve the matter to avoid what he believes would be “lengthy and costly legal proceedings.”
“State funds, even those derived from grants from private donors, may not be used to pay for spouse’s expenses,” said Office of State Ethics Executive Director, Carol Carson.