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Hopkinton supervisor says councilor cleared of conflict question and can vote with board on wind power issues

HOPKINTON – A town councilman who has twice abstained from voting and discussing wind tower issues following ethics law complaints is now eligible to participate again.

A lawyer from the Concerned Citizens for Rural Preservation group contacted Hopkinton Town Supervisor Susan Wood last week claiming that it was against the ethics law for councilman Greg Crump to participate in wind tower-related talks at town meetings because the company he works for has a lease with the wind developer, Avangrid Renewables.

Avangrid, a subsidiary of Iberdrola, is heading the North Ridge Wind Farm, which calls for about 40 wind towers to be constructed.

CCRP describes itself as a group who research information about industrial wind power and then inform the local public about the full scope of realities involved with industrial wind projects.

Wood contacted the town’s attorney to find out if Crump was eligible to participate in discussions and vote on wind farm topics. Crump did not participate in the most recent town meeting as a precaution.

“In doing further investigation, I find that Greg Crump does not have a conflict of interest regarding the wind turbine project in Hopkinton due to his working for Seaway Timber,” Wood said.

Wood said Seaway Timber Harvesting, Inc., is a “C” corporation and is a timber harvesting company; Curran Development Corp. is a land holding company and is an “S” Corporation.

“Greg Crump works exclusively the Seaway Timber Harvesting, Inc.,” Wood said.

Curran Development Corp. is the company that has the lease with the wind company, she said. The companies are separate entities and each file their own income tax returns.

Crump had been abstaining due to a conflict of interest due to a family member of his being a leaseholder with Avangrid.

A code of ethics change was made related to which family members can impact the ability to vote. The law eliminated cousins, aunts, and uncles, while keeping more immediate family members such as parents and siblings.