Barrington Selectmen Abrahams, Cooke are cleared by ethics panel

Liquor license approval for Berkshire Co-op does not constitute a legal conflict of interest

GREAT BARRINGTON —The state ethics commission has cleared select board members Ed Abrahams and Bill Cooke of any conflicts of interest in relation to the granting of a liquor license to the Berkshire Coop.

“It was by no means a probe or an ethics investigation. Somebody sent a complaint, they are required by law to look into, they did and immediately said there was no basis for the complaint,” Abrahams said.

Abrahams and Cooke had been members of the Coop until the morning that the vote was taken, resigning their membership that day. Under the advice of town counsel and the Attorney General, Abrahams and Cooke cancelled their membership as it would constitute a conflict of interest, due to the potential to gain financially from the decision.

An anonymous complaint was filed with the ethics commission, which the commission looked at and decided quickly that there was not an issue. Because Cooke and Abrahams were not members of the Coop when the vote was taken, they therefore would not be able to benefit from the granting of the license.