MANCHESTER, NH – After 11 years at the helm of a non-profit service organization that has sent thousands of care packages to troops overseas, New Hampshire’s Ninth Circuit Court Judge Paul Moore, co-founder of MooreMart, is relinquishing his post as the organization’s president and treasurer.
The change in leadership was announced Thursday in a statement released by Moore, which was prompted by a review into possible conflicts of interest by the NH Judicial Conduct Committee:
In reviewing my involvement with MooreMart, a non-profit organization providing care packages to service members serving overseas, as it relates to my role as a local Circuit Court justice I have become increasingly aware of the perception of potential conflicts that may arise between my charitable endeavors to include my role as President of MooreMart, and my role a Circuit Court Justice. During my tenure as a Circuit Court Justice I have been careful to comply with the judicial ethical rules, but concerns have recently been brought to my attention that I must address. Due to the fact that my role as a Board member and officer of MooreMart could possibly have a perceived adverse effect on the public’s perception of the Judiciary I cannot continue my association with MooreMart at this time and have come to the difficult decision to resign as the President of MooreMart and allow the organization to continue under the direct of the Board of Directors.
Moore was restricted from further comment, referring questions to longtime board member and friend Ted Luszey, who is stepping up as the organization’s president going forward.
Part of the reorganization includes changing the name, from MooreMart to Operation Troop Care, said Luszey.
“We sat and talked about it and agreed for Paul to provide the best service to the state he’d resign and we’d change the name to Operation Troop Care, given his name is part of MooreMart’s identity,” Luszey said.
The name change is expected to be approved sometime next week.
Luszey said there was no complaint filed against Moore, who established MooreMart more than a decade ago with his sister, Carole Moore Biggio.
“As he’s always done through the years, Paul recently requested some advice from the Judicial Conduct Committee and whatever the request was – and I’m not sure what that was off hand – they came back and said, although we support what you’re doing, we need to review the situation and make sure there is absolutely no conflict of interest,” Luszey said.
Because MooreMart is often visited by politicians who come to volunteer and also take advantage of photo ops, and because so many people from the community volunteer during packaging events, it is quite feasible that someone could construe Moore’s leadership of the organization as a conflict, should a volunteer come before him in the courtroom, or a political conflict arise.
Aside from recusing himself in such instances, Luszey said the best course was to step aside completely.
“Justices have to be held to a higher standard of accountability than you or I,” Luszey said. “It’s completely understandable.”
Otherwise, nothing will change about MooreMart’s mission, Luszey said.
“We will still be packing at the armory, and many of the same volunteers we have every month and every quarter are still committed to the mission, as are a lot of our corporate supporters, who have said they’d continue on,” Luszey said.
Board member Joe Paradis will take over as treasurer.
Luszey said he has been involved with MooreMart since its inception – and he has known Moore for more than 30 years.
“I’ve known Paul ever since he started packing packages for his brother who was in the service, that’s how we met. I was sending packages to my son who was in Iraq at the same time. We got to talking one day and I heard what he was doing, which was sending special request packages to some of his brother’s buddies,” Luszey said. “We both had family members in harm’s way, and their buddies all had buddies with requests, and it just snowballed from there.”
According to MooreMart’s website, they have sent more than 72,000 care packages since February of 2004, drawing hundreds of volunteers for scheduled packaging events. They come with donations or to join the packaging assembly line, which then sends everyday practical items desired by U.S. military men and women, from the mundane to the hard to find.
“Given what we do, and the support we get from others, I think having Paul at the helm could be perceived as a violation of the separation of private and public life, and we don’t want that,” Luszey said. “This is a proactive action on Paul’s part to make sure we don’t do anything to cause an issue, with MooreMart or with Paul’s professional reputation.”