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State Ethics Investigation Clears LBJMA Managing Director, But Has to Make $5000.00 “Donation”

During the latter part of this summer, Lower Bucks Source was contacted by concerned citizens with regards to a, then, an investigation launched by the state ethics commission into Managing Director of the Lower Bucks County Joint Municipal Authority Dr. Vijay Rajput,

On Monday the results of the investigation were made public by the ethics commission in which Rajput “fully and unequivocally denies having committed any violation of the Ethics Act, including but not limited to his alleged private use of the storage shed/common area, but without admitting any violation and solely for purposes of resolution of this matter, Dr. Rajput agrees that if this matter went to a hearing, and respondent presented no other exculpatory evidence in support of his defense at hearing, the Investigative Division could, by circumstantial evidence, meet the requisite evidentiary standard, and that a fact finder could find based on that evidence that he violated Section 1103(a) of the Ethics Act..”

Moreover Rajput was ordered to fulfill his agreement that S2A make a voluntary donation in the amount of $5,000.00 payable to LBCJMA and forwarded to the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission on behalf of LBJMA.

Credit: Linkedin

Also as part of the consent decree Rajput also agrees to:

  1.  …Respondent is ordered to not ask for or accept any reimbursement, compensation or other payment from the LBCJMA representing a full or partial reimbursement of the donation made by S2A.
  2.  Respondent is directed to fulfill the terms of the parties’ Consent Agreement by doing the following to avoid any future appearance of impropriety and/or potential conflict of interest:
  3.  Respondent will not utilize LBCJMA’s physical facilities, including the storage shed/common area, to conduct any trainings or perform any work outside the scope of his direct employment with the LBCJMA, including trainings or other work on behalf of himself, S2A, or any other private entity for private payment, without first obtaining approval by a vote of the LBCJMA Board of Directors, which shall have the exclusive discretion to determine whether Respondent and/or S2A may utilize the LBCJMA’s facilities, the amount of any fee or charge that shall be required to be paid, if any, and any other conditions that the LBCJMA’s Board of Directors shall deem to be appropriate.  The Investigative Division may advise the LBCJMA’s Board members by a written letter, which may be sent to their attorney to forward to the Board, that they are entitled to charge a reasonable fee for S2A to use its facilities, if they wish.

S2A is owned and operated by his wife, according to the most recent records available.

The Ethics Act says a conflict of interest can arise if an official, employee or their immediate family could financially benefit from a decision of the governing body.

This is not the first time, Rajput ethical concerns have arisen relating to the matter cited by the commission Monday. 

In 2019, the Intelligencer reported “Rajput’s past statements on his involvement with his wife’s company, S2A Technologies Inc.”

 

The Managing Director, according to the 2019 report, is listed as the primary contact for S2A on the state’s ‘Sponsor catalog’ along with an address that appears in Bucks County property records as a residence owned by couple.”.

The Intell reporting was based upon depositions Rajput gave in a federal lawsuit filed by an authority employee.

It’s that kind of perceived conflict of interest the Pennsylvania Public Official and Employee Ethics Act specifically addresses, and prohibits where public officials and employees could financially benefit themselves.

The crux of the matter, the sources say, and the final report indicates is that required credentialed training provided by Rajput, as an alleged employee of S2A, a company, family members owns and operates was being performed using LBJMA property and facilities.

Board Chairman for LBJMA, Joe Glasson, and also a Bristol Township Councilman said on Tuesday “yes the optics are bad, but the man did absolutely nothing wrong and the entire board is 1000 percent behind Dr Rajput.”

This was a complaint most likely filed by a disgruntled employee, complaining that V.J was using authority property- pencils would you believe- that’s all this was, Glasson said.

Dr Rajput is a highly respected and accomplished man in his field. The state environmental protection agency often uses him for his expertise in the field. We’re truly lucky to have him, he said.

“There is no there, there,” Glasson added sternly said.

In August when first digging into the allegations by the multiple sources who contacted Lower Bucks Source about an ongoing investigation, what lent credibility were source documents provided to us. Showing the actual documents could possibly reveal the sources of the information this publication agreed not to reveal, the information clearly showed an investigation was ongoing at LBJMA.

The information provided identified fees for legal services that were billed to the authority in excess of $32,000.0o by an outside legal firm.

At the time this publication contacted the State Ethics Commission Executive Director Mary W. Fox. She would not confirm or deny an existing investigation of LBJMA or Rajput. She did however say if there was an investigation ongoing hypothetically, the findings would be published to the ethics commission website.

Asked if at anytime in the past were referrals made to the Attorney General’s office when findings revealed potential criminal actions, by the agency of individuals working within it, Fox said referrals have been made in the past, but couldn’t site from memory, since she just took the position in April.

It depends on the case and jurisdiction, she added, citing the Pennsylvania Ethics Act section 1108. 

Fox on Monday said as long as the consent decree is adhered to there will be no further action for the commission to take.

In September Lower Bucks Source submitted an open records request seeking billing information for legal services provided. The request was rejected, in part, because the records quite possibly are a part of ongoing investigation.

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The publication chose not to appeal the rejected request because we were already in possession of payment records.

Each of the human sources, who do not know each other said the essentially the same thing after reviewing the published decision. 

He’s getting away with it again, all three said.

When calling Rajput on Monday for comment about the posted investigative decision, this publication was told he was out of the office and requested to leave a message on his voicemail, he picked up the phone.

After a brief off the record exchange, Rajput declined to comment and said he needed to consult with the authorities solicitor before doing so, on Monday.

This publication did not hear back from him as of 4 pm Thursday.

The Lower Bucks County Joint Municipal Authority is governed by a Board of Directors which consists of three (3) appointed members from Bristol Township and three (3) appointed members from Tullytown Borough. Each member is appointed by their respective Council to a five (5) year term, according to the LBJMA website.

 

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State Ethics Investigation Clears LBJMA Managing Director, But Has to Make $5000.00 “Donation”

During the latter part of this summer, Lower Bucks Source was contacted by concerned citizens with regards to a, then, an investigation launched by the state ethics commission into Managing Director of the Lower Bucks County Joint Municipal Authority Dr. Vijay Rajput,

On Monday the results of the investigation were made public by the ethics commission in which Rajput “fully and unequivocally denies having committed any violation of the Ethics Act, including but not limited to his alleged private use of the storage shed/common area, but without admitting any violation and solely for purposes of resolution of this matter, Dr. Rajput agrees that if this matter went to a hearing, and respondent presented no other exculpatory evidence in support of his defense at hearing, the Investigative Division could, by circumstantial evidence, meet the requisite evidentiary standard, and that a fact finder could find based on that evidence that he violated Section 1103(a) of the Ethics Act..”

Moreover Rajput was ordered to fulfill his agreement that S2A make a voluntary donation in the amount of $5,000.00 payable to LBCJMA and forwarded to the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission on behalf of LBJMA.

Credit: Linkedin

Also as part of the consent decree Rajput also agrees to:

  1.  …Respondent is ordered to not ask for or accept any reimbursement, compensation or other payment from the LBCJMA representing a full or partial reimbursement of the donation made by S2A.
  2.  Respondent is directed to fulfill the terms of the parties’ Consent Agreement by doing the following to avoid any future appearance of impropriety and/or potential conflict of interest:
  3.  Respondent will not utilize LBCJMA’s physical facilities, including the storage shed/common area, to conduct any trainings or perform any work outside the scope of his direct employment with the LBCJMA, including trainings or other work on behalf of himself, S2A, or any other private entity for private payment, without first obtaining approval by a vote of the LBCJMA Board of Directors, which shall have the exclusive discretion to determine whether Respondent and/or S2A may utilize the LBCJMA’s facilities, the amount of any fee or charge that shall be required to be paid, if any, and any other conditions that the LBCJMA’s Board of Directors shall deem to be appropriate.  The Investigative Division may advise the LBCJMA’s Board members by a written letter, which may be sent to their attorney to forward to the Board, that they are entitled to charge a reasonable fee for S2A to use its facilities, if they wish.

S2A is owned and operated by his wife, according to the most recent records available.

The Ethics Act says a conflict of interest can arise if an official, employee or their immediate family could financially benefit from a decision of the governing body.

This is not the first time, Rajput ethical concerns have arisen relating to the matter cited by the commission Monday. 

In 2019, the Intelligencer reported “Rajput’s past statements on his involvement with his wife’s company, S2A Technologies Inc.”

 

The Managing Director, according to the 2019 report, is listed as the primary contact for S2A on the state’s ‘Sponsor catalog’ along with an address that appears in Bucks County property records as a residence owned by couple.”.

The Intell reporting was based upon depositions Rajput gave in a federal lawsuit filed by an authority employee.

It’s that kind of perceived conflict of interest the Pennsylvania Public Official and Employee Ethics Act specifically addresses, and prohibits where public officials and employees could financially benefit themselves.

The crux of the matter, the sources say, and the final report indicates is that required credentialed training provided by Rajput, as an alleged employee of S2A, a company, family members owns and operates was being performed using LBJMA property and facilities.

Board Chairman for LBJMA, Joe Glasson, and also a Bristol Township Councilman said on Tuesday “yes the optics are bad, but the man did absolutely nothing wrong and the entire board is 1000 percent behind Dr Rajput.”

This was a complaint most likely filed by a disgruntled employee, complaining that V.J was using authority property- pencils would you believe- that’s all this was, Glasson said.

Dr Rajput is a highly respected and accomplished man in his field. The state environmental protection agency often uses him for his expertise in the field. We’re truly lucky to have him, he said.

“There is no there, there,” Glasson added sternly said.

In August when first digging into the allegations by the multiple sources who contacted Lower Bucks Source about an ongoing investigation, what lent credibility were source documents provided to us. Showing the actual documents could possibly reveal the sources of the information this publication agreed not to reveal, the information clearly showed an investigation was ongoing at LBJMA.

The information provided identified fees for legal services that were billed to the authority in excess of $32,000.0o by an outside legal firm.

At the time this publication contacted the State Ethics Commission Executive Director Mary W. Fox. She would not confirm or deny an existing investigation of LBJMA or Rajput. She did however say if there was an investigation ongoing hypothetically, the findings would be published to the ethics commission website.

Asked if at anytime in the past were referrals made to the Attorney General’s office when findings revealed potential criminal actions, by the agency of individuals working within it, Fox said referrals have been made in the past, but couldn’t site from memory, since she just took the position in April.

It depends on the case and jurisdiction, she added, citing the Pennsylvania Ethics Act section 1108. 

Fox on Monday said as long as the consent decree is adhered to there will be no further action for the commission to take.

In September Lower Bucks Source submitted an open records request seeking billing information for legal services provided. The request was rejected, in part, because the records quite possibly are a part of ongoing investigation.

E-mail Jeff.Bohen17@Gmail.com for your price and package quote

The publication chose not to appeal the rejected request because we were already in possession of payment records.

Each of the human sources, who do not know each other said the essentially the same thing after reviewing the published decision. 

He’s getting away with it again, all three said.

When calling Rajput on Monday for comment about the posted investigative decision, this publication was told he was out of the office and requested to leave a message on his voicemail, he picked up the phone.

After a brief off the record exchange, Rajput declined to comment and said he needed to consult with the authorities solicitor before doing so, on Monday.

This publication did not hear back from him as of 4 pm Thursday.

The Lower Bucks County Joint Municipal Authority is governed by a Board of Directors which consists of three (3) appointed members from Bristol Township and three (3) appointed members from Tullytown Borough. Each member is appointed by their respective Council to a five (5) year term, according to the LBJMA website.

 

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