PLYMOUTH– Documents at Plymouth Superior Court show that allegations against Robert Tinkham, the current Plympton Health Agent, have been amended. The complaint, submitted by counsel for the Carver, Marion, Wareham Regional Refuse Disposal District, details and expands allegations against Tinkham, specifically.
He stands accused of nine civil charges, including Conversion and Civil Theft, Fraud, Civil Conspiracy, as well as violations of the Uniform Procurement Act and the Conflict of Interest Law.
He is accused with two other defendants, Ray Pickles and his wife, Diane Bondi-Pickles. Pickles is the elected Marion town clerk while Bondi-Pickles is a real-estate agent.
The corruption by the defendants has resulted in monetary damages to the waste district in an amount in excess of $838,458.22, according to court records, and the investigation is ongoing by state and local officials.
The Office of the Inspector General is investigating, as well.
Tinkham, of Carver, previously worked as the Carver Health Agent, and, in that capacity, served as Carver’s representative to, and, at times, chairman of the committee overseeing the waste district. Pickles was the Executive Director of the waste district and the authorized signatory of all its accounts.
Committee members did not receive compensation for their services to the district, yet Tinkham received monetary payments from the district for periods of time between 1995 and 2018. He did not have a contract or employment agreement with the district, and no taxes were withheld on the payments, according to the lawsuit.
He stands accused of billing the waste district for landfill inspections while working for the Town of Carver. The Town of Carver job description for the health agent includes inspecting the Carver landfill, according to public records.
In 2007, Carver officials reaffirmed this aspect of Tinkham’s job description, and that he would be “paid for such work by Carver, even if the work occurred outside his normal working hours.”
But, the Carver landfill, leased by the district, is inspected by a professional engineer. Tinkham is not an engineer, according to his résumé, and he kept no records of his inspections for Carver, if they indeed occurred, the lawsuit alleges.
The total amount paid to him for inspections by the district was $88,990.
The plaintiffs submitted 13 representative examples from 2004 and 2005 alone of Tinkham collecting payments from the district while being paid a salary from the Town of Carver.
Tinkham also stands accused of providing no goods or services in connection with money he was paid for the district’s “Grant/Recycling” services, between 2012 and 2018, totaling $88,100.
He allegedly submitted false documentation for payment for that work.
Tinkham finally stands accused of receiving payments not supported by any documentation at all. “In total, there are 82 payments totaling $86,703.82 for which payment was made but the District has no invoice or proof of any services rendered.”
The fraud was discovered when Pickles, in 2017, without the authorization of the committee, sought payment of assessments from the district towns for the first time since 2015.
When Carver and Wareham refused to pay, claiming a lack of documentation, Pickles used district counsel, again without authorization, to sue for breach of contract in Wareham District Court.
That suit was voluntarily dismissed.
The actions by Pickles led to the discovery of inappropriate expenditures by the district. Pickles was terminated Jan. 29, 2018.
The district is seeking triple-damages, interest, costs and attorneys’ fees.
The district was created as a regional refuse disposal district in 1973 by a special act of the General Court. It is an independent body-politic, based in Marion, funded by user-fees, assessments to the member towns and agreements with third-parties.
Pickles and Bondi-Pickles are seeking to go to trial. Tinkham is seeking to have the proceedings dismissed.
Tinkham denies all accusations.