Corruption Uncovered in Chesterfield: Report
A Chesterfield Township committeeman improperly used his government position in facilitating a private land deal that brought him substantial profit, according to an Office of the State Comptroller investigation.
The investigation found Lawrence C. Durr, longtime Mayor, Committeeman and Planning Board member, used his influence and knowledge to push a complicated development project through multiple governmental hurdles. Durr allegedly had more than a million dollars at stake with the outcome.
The office’s findings have been referred to the state’s Division of Criminal Justice to determine whether criminal prosecution would be appropriate.
Meanwhile, the report suggested the maximum fine for a violation of the Local Government Ethics Law be increased from $500 to $10,000.
“When more than a million dollars is at stake, a $500 fine becomes merely a cost of doing business,” State Comptroller Matthew Boxer said. “As our investigation in Chesterfield shows, planning officials need to address potential conflicts carefully, and we need tougher penalties to deter public officials who would compromise planning decisions for personal gain.”