Marion Town Clerk Ray Pickles has been indicted by a statewide grand jury for allegations that he stole over $610,000 during his last six years serving as the executive director for the Carver, Marion, Wareham Regional Refuse Disposal District.
Pickles was fired from his 45-year position as executive director in January 2018 when the District’s board comprised of members from the three towns noticed significant financial inconsistencies.
Pickles also served 29 years as the town administrator of the Town of Marion from 1972-2001.
In a press release on March 18, Attorney General Maura Healey and Inspector General Glenn Cunha announced that Pickles, 85, was indicted on larceny charges after months of investigation in partnership with the Marion Police Department and with the cooperation with the District’s three towns.
Pickles faces criminal charges of six counts of Larceny over $250.
Authorities allege that Pickles maintained two District bank accounts to which only he had access and from which he wrote checks out to himself, and also established accounts under the District in two other banks – accounts that only Pickles knew existed. Pickles is accused of depositing checks intended for the District into these accounts and allegedly used the money to make payments on his personal credit cards and also withdrew cash for personal use.
“Authorities further allege that Pickles billed the District for services he did not perform and used District funds to pay for personal expenses,” it states in the press release.
A second defendant has also been criminally charged in connection with the allegations against Pickles, former CMWRRDD board chairman and former Carver health agent Robert Tinkham, Jr.
Tinkham, 57, is accused of accepting a total of $65,000 in payments while chairman of the District’s board for inspectional services he did not perform, paid to him by Pickles who was the only person who had access to those District accounts.
Tinkham faces criminal charges of one count of Larceny over $250 and one count of Presentation of False Claims.
Pickles and Tinkham will be arraigned at a later date in Plymouth Superior Court, and prosecuting the case are Special Assistant Attorneys General John Brooks and Ashlee Logan of the Inspector General’s Investigations Division with assistance from Chief Trial Counsel James O’Brien of the AG’s Criminal Bureau.
Lead Investigator Logan Davis and Analyst/Investigator Will Bradford from the Inspector General’s Office investigated the case.
Marion Town Administrator Paul Dawson issued a public statement, saying, “The accusations constitute a staggering abuse of the public trust, and we are grateful to the Marion Police Department, the Inspector General’s Office, and Attorney General Maura Healey’s office for their diligence in bringing out the details of these alleged thefts.”
Pickles, Tinkham, and Pickles’ wife, Diane Bondi-Pickles, 66, are all defendants in a Plymouth County Superior Court civil lawsuit filed by the District on June 22, 2018, which alleges that the three are responsible for roughly $838,000 in stolen District funds. The three face a number of civil counts that include Fraud, Conversion and Civil Theft, and Civil Conspiracy.
Pickles denied any wrongdoing in his July 23, 2018 signed affidavit and blamed his old age and lack of support for the various discrepancies in the financial records he kept, saying, “In recent years, due to my age and limited professional support, my record keeping has not been what it was during my time as Town Manager in Marion and during my early years with the CMWRRDD. He denied any wrongdoing, saying, “I believe that all of my actions were taken in the best interests of the CMWRRDD.”
According to Dawson, there is no legal mechanism to remove Pickles from his position as town clerk before 2020 when the three-year position returns to the election ballot.
Pickles also served several terms as an elected member of the Marion Board of Assessors until he was defeated in 2018. He was also the building commissioner and zoning enforcement officer for Marion before he retired in 2001, and served as the town administrator of the Town of Gosnold until he announced his retirement on May 11, 2018, according to the Gosnold Board of Selectmen’s meeting minutes.
By Jean Perry