The disgraced former chief executive of the Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation violated conflict of interest laws when he did paid work for a private company while heading the Crown corporation, according to the federal ethics commissioner.

In a report released Thursday, Mary Dawson said John Lynn — who was fired from ECBC about a month ago over patronage appointments — worked as a paid consultant to another company three times between 2010 and 2012, while he was the head of the agency.

The allegations against Lynn were first reported to the ethics commissioner in March 2013 by the chair of ECBC, Paul Leblanc, who also heads the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

In her report, Dawson said Lynn was paid a total of $13,950 for work he did to help the owners of the private company sell the business.

The commissioner did not identify the business, referring to it only as Company X.

Dawson said the work did not relate to anything Lynn did at ECBC, but conflict of interest laws prohibit public office holders from doing paid consulting work "unless they are required to do so in the exercise of their official powers, duties and functions."

The investigation, which was launched more than a year ago, took time because there were delays with Lynn's availability, according to Dawson.

Ethics watchdog Mary Dawson 20130211

Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson says the investigation into John Lynn, which was launched more than a year ago, took time because there were delays with Lynn's availability. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

She said Lynn claimed there was no conflict of interest between his work for Company X and his job at ECBC.

ECBC was shut down and its operations were rolled into the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Public Works and Government Services Canada earlier this month.

This is the second time in recent months that Lynn has come under ethical scrutiny from a federal watchdog.

He was fired as the CEO of the Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation last month after Canada's public sector integrity commissioner found serious breaches in the corporation's code of conduct when he hired four people with ties to the federal Conservatives and the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservatives without competition or proof of merit.

With files from The Canadian Press