The trash removal company once responsible for weekly trash pick up in Charlestown before the contract was handed over to Sunrise last year was fined by the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) last week. Capitol Waste Services, of East Boston, was found to be funneling money from scrap metal sales into a fund and using company employees to distribute those funds to candidates for political office here and surrounding communities. Three elected officials in Charlestown that received these funds was found to be unaware of the company’s activities by OCPF.
Capitol Waste agreed to make payments totaling $120,000 to the state and to four cities, according to a disposition agreement with OCPF concerning prohibited contributions.
According to OCPF, a review of contributions to candidates determined that Capitol Waste’s President Joseph Ricupero and Treasurer Michael Merullo requested that company employees financially support candidates.
“To support these candidates Ricupero or Merullo provided cash to certain employees who made campaign contributions, according to the agreement,” the OCPF complaint said. “In some instances, the cash from Ricupero or Merullo was distributed by those employees to family members and friends to make contributions.”
According to state campaign finance law individuals are prohibited from “disguising the true origins of contributions, and bans corporate contributions to candidates.”
The funds, a total of $38,000, originated from cash proceeds obtained by salvaging scrap metal that was collected during trash collection activities. The proceeds were kept at the corporate offices.
“The contributions to candidates were made by 11 individuals, six of whom were employed by Capitol Waste,” read the complaint. “The 10 candidates who received funds in this manner ran for elected office in Charlestown, Everett, Revere and Weymouth.”
As part of the disposition agreement, Ricupero and Merullo have paid $44,000 to the state’s general fund. Both men have also agreed not to solicit contributions from any employee of Capitol Waste for any Massachusetts candidate or political committee for a period of three years.
“In addition, Capitol Waste will make payments to the four communities as follows – Boston, $34,000; Revere, $24,000; Everett, $12,000; and Weymouth, $6,000,” said the complaint. “These payments must be completed by Dec. 31, 2015.”
Candidates who are still active must disgorge the prohibited contributions they received in accordance with the residual funds clause, according to the agreement.
Rep. Dan Ryan who received contributions from Capitol Waste was not aware that the disguised contributions were made with corporate funds until he was notified just prior to the signing of the disposition agreement.
Ryan said they will be giving the funds to local non-profits.
City Councilor Sal LaMattina who also received contributions from Capitol Waste was not aware that the disguised contributions were made with corporate funds until he was notified just prior to the signing of the disposition agreement. He also will be giving teh funds to local non-profits.
Former Mayor Tom Menino was also listed as having received contributions.