New York firm pays $10,000 to settle Conn case

Connecticut regulators say the company violated state ethics rules by giving gifts to employees and a board member of the quasi-public Connecticut Port Authority.

HARTFORD, Conn. — A New York-based shipping company has agreed to pay a $10,000 civil penalty to Connecticut regulators who say the company violated state ethics rules by offering gifts to employees and to a board member of the quasi-public Port Authority of Connecticut, including NHL tickets, food, beverages and an overnight stay at a club in Greenwich.

The State Ethics Office, which announced the rule On Tuesday, Seabury PFRA, LLC, said in 2017 made gifts totaling $800 to an unnamed Port Authority employee, the person’s spouse and an unnamed Port Authority board member. The office said it happened when the company was “seeking to develop a business advisory relationship” with the Port Authority.

RELATED: Audit details gross mismanagement at Connecticut Port Authority

In 2019, when Seabury had a consulting contract with the Port Authority and was seeking additional contracts, the company provided gifts totaling approximately $2,300 to an anonymous Port Authority employee and the person’s spouse, as well as to two other employees, according to the regulations. The gift list included food, drink, a leather purse and hockey tickets.

“Private companies seeking to engage state and quasi-state agencies for contracts should understand that fostering goodwill with state officials and employees may not involve the provision of impermissible gifts,” the executive director said. of the State Ethics Office, Peter Lewandowski, in a written statement.

The Port Authority was created in 2014 and is responsible for marketing and coordinating the development of Connecticut’s three deepwater ports.

RELATED: Lawmakers Schedule Second Port Authority Hearing After Audit

In the settlement documents, which were agreed to and signed by Seabury’s acting chief financial officer, the shipping company said it was reimbursed for the cost of hockey tickets and certain food and beverages. But state ethics officials noted that those items weren’t being refunded within 30 days of receipt, in violation of state regulations. Additionally, other gifts from Seabury were not repaid by recipients, the agency said.

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