A Suffolk County Superior Court judge this month upheld a state ethics commission ruling that a Aquinnah select board broke the state’s conflict of interest law. 

In a Feb. 5 decision, Judge Mark Hallal dismissed Gary Haley’s attempt to push back on charges that he broke the state’s ethics law when he approved payments for himself for work he had done at Aquinnah Circle. 

In October 2022, the commission ordered Mr. Haley to pay $10,000 in civil penalties in connection with work he did on the 2018 beautification project. A master electrician, Mr. Haley had appointed himself to perform electrical work on the project and approved his own invoice to the town in his role as a select board member. 

In November 2022, Mr. Haley argued the ethics commission wrongly found he violated the law. He said he had volunteered to do the work in an emergency before learning it was going to be vastly more difficult. 

Mr. Haley completed the work and then sent the town an invoice for about $17,000, which he later signed off on in his role as a select board member. 

Judge Hallal found that Mr. Haley did violate the state regulations, affirming the ethics commission’s decision. 

“Haley submitted his invoice shortly before he was called upon to approve. He then went on to sign off on his own expense,” the judge wrote. “The only way Haley could not know that his invoice was included in [the warrant] was to deliberately ignore a fact placed directly in front of him.”