PLYMOUTH — On Nov. 7, Plympton Health Inspector, Robert Tinkham, Jr. filed a 13-page motion to have five counts of a nine-complaint civil suit against him by the Carver, Marion, and Wareham Regional Refuse Disposal District dismissed. He is accused, along with two co-conspirators, Ray Pickles and his wife, Diane Bondi-Pickles, of defrauding the regional waste district of $838,458.22.
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, according to court records.
The lawsuit, which was originally filed in June and was amended against Tinkham— only— in August, accused him of conversion and civil theft, fraud, civil conspiracy, as well as violations of the Uniform Procurement Act and the conflict of interest law.
Tinkham, through his Brockton-based attorney John Fink of Sims & Sims, argued that the August amendment to the complaint was filed improperly, in a “bad-faith effort to needless[ly] complicates [sic] the litigation by presenting multiple active complaints,” in violation of the rules of civil procedure.
The waste district responded to this motion to dismiss Nov. 19.
It contains some of the strongest language yet used against him and responds point-by-point to his motion.
“Defendant Robert Tinkham, former chairman of the District’s governing committee and duly appointed representative of the Town of Carver, participated in this scheme by conspiring with the other defendants to install co-defendant Ray E. Pickles as the District’s executive director and then by presenting Pickles with numerous fake-claims over many years for payment under the guise of providing landfill inspection and other services. Notwithstanding these claims, Defendant Tinkham did not provide any services to the District and instead he abused his position of trust and confidence to defraud the District, a public entity, of more than $260,000,” the waste district says.
Tinkham argued that all of the defendants in the case, including Pickles, Bondi-Pickles and a corporation the two controlled, Moss Hollow Management Corp., are accused by the plaintiff with little distinction.
“All of the Claims refer only to the ‘Defendants’ collectively using the defined term ‘Defendants’ and contain absolutely no factual allegations that identify which particular Defendant is being accused of what allegedly improper behavior,” Tinkham’s motion states.
Therefore, says the filing, it cannot be determined which defendant is being accused of which alleged act and thus the complaints should be dismissed, as has been the case in similar litigation.
Similarly, he states that he is “entitled to know which statements were made by whom and at what time so that he may defend himself…” in relation to allegations he broke the law.
But the district claims that “In its Amended Complaint, the District sets forth specific and detailed factual allegations, in 47 numbered and lettered paragraphs, describing a scheme of fraud perpetrated by Defendant Tinkham, including when he committed the fraud, how he committed the fraud and the extent of the damage he caused. Specifically, the District alleges that Defendant Tinkham made numerous false representations of material fact, over the course of more than twenty years, by submitting false invoices requesting payment for services that he did not perform for the District.”
Tinkham points out three reasons that the claims he broke the Uniform Procurement Act should be dismissed: “failure to allege any contract subject to the laws,” that he was not a “procurement officer,” and that there is no right to privately sue under the act– enforcement is through the Office of the Inspector General or the Attorney General, he says. (The OIG is investigating, according to documents discovered in court files.)
“[T]he count must be dismissed because nowhere in the four corners of the complaint does the District allege it had a contract with Tinkham subject to the Uniform Procurement Act…” he argues.
Tinkham finally states that a party to the litigation was left out, also violating rules of civil procedure, the Southeastern Massachusetts Resource Recovery Facility (SEMASS) in Rochester. SEMASS contracts make up a large portion of the complaint, and they were paying the salaries and wages of workers according to the plaintiff, Tinkham says, and he argues they should have been subject to the litigation.
Because the complaint “seeks recovery of sums allegedly unlawfully paid by SEMASS…” he alleges that they weren’t included in the litigation because the waste district is fearful any recovery from the defendants may be returned in some part to SEMASS.
The plaintiffs say that SEMASS is not a necessary party as they do not purport to assert a claim against them.
Tinkham is an employee of the Town of Plympton, hired by the elected Board of Health at a meeting Jan. 9, 2018.
The case is ongoing and has been reassigned to Brockton from Plymouth. The next hearing on the matter is scheduled for Jan. 14, 2019 at 2 p.m. in Brockton Superior Court.
Tinkham denies all allegations.