Mezzatesta also acknowledged "that the remarks made during the course of these conversations [about the special education grant] could be construed as a solicitation of monies for the education of students by the Hampshire County Board of Education."
Mezzatesta was out of the office Thursday and unavailable for comment.
In November, Mezzatesta was convicted of altering or destroying legislative computer records at the State Capitol as part of an alleged cover-up. The same month, the nine-term delegate was voted out of office.
Last month, the state Board of Education declared a "state of emergency" in Hampshire schools, finding that Mezzatesta and Hampshire Superintendent David Friend misused state grants and took part in improper hiring practices.
Mezzatesta continues to stay on the job and collect a $60,000 salary.
"The Ethics Commission finally held Mr. Mezzatesta accountable," said Candy Canan, vice president of the Hampshire County Education Association. "This was long overdue. Our board is going to have to determine Mr. Mezzatesta's future employment."
Hampshire board members are expected to meet Monday night, but it's unclear whether they'll discuss Mezzatesta's fine and reprimand.
Ethics Commission Executive Director Lew Brewer said he recommended the maximum punishment for Mezzatesta because the former Hampshire County delegate held a powerful position in state government. Since 2000, the commission has imposed the maximum fine only three times.
By signing the agreement, Mezzatesta avoided a public hearing during which Hampshire County and state Department of Education employees were expected to testify against him. If found guilty, Mezzatesta would have been ordered to pay the same fine that he received Thursday.
"By doing what we've done, we don't have to sit and wait for appeals," Brewer said. "This closes the matter for us."
Mezzatesta might face additional criminal charges in Hampshire County, where a special prosecutor is investigating whether Mezzatesta submitted a false affidavit to the Ethics Commission last spring. In the sworn statement, Mezzatesta said he never solicited grants for Hampshire schools.
Also Thursday, the ethics agency dismissed a complaint against Mezzatesta's wife, Mary Lou. Terry and her colleague Wanda Carney alleged that Mary Lou Mezzatesta used the House Education Committee office to run a private video poker machine company - Viking Vending - that she owns.
Investigators determined that Mary Lou Mezzatesta, a former part-time House Education office assistant, used the House Education fax machine to send a company document to the state Lottery Commission. But Mary Lou Mezzatesta wasn't a state employee at the time, the commission investigation concluded.
To contact staff writer Eric Eyre, use e-mail or call 348-4869.