EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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August 12, 2011

Lantigua recall effort falls about 900 signatures short

LAWRENCE - An effort to ouster Mayor William Lantigua fell about 900 signatures short of the 5,232 it needed to prompt a recall of the state's first Hispanic mayor.

The City Clerk's office was able to verify 4,366 of the 5,483 signatures as registered voters on the recall petition submitted by group It's Your Right last Monday.

Both Lantigua and It's Your Right have until Tuesday to challenge any of the signatures with the city's Board of Registrars.

Lantigua publicly thanked the board before heading out of City Hall to address a crowd of about 80 supporters on Campagnone Common for 45 minutes tonight. There, he thanked God for his guidance as well as the "great people of Lawrence."

It's Your Right details on its website the reasons why the group wants to recall Lantigua. Members claim the mayor has shown a disregard for law enforcement and public safety in the city, failed to provide resources for adequate law enforcement by cutting the police and fire department budgets, and damaged the reputation of the police and fire departments through false statements and disparaging comments.

The group criticizes Lantigua for writing character references on behalf of a suspect charged with beating someone with a baseball bat, and another person who broke into his own mother's home and threatened her.

The website also cites an ongoing investigation by federal, state and local officials into possible corruption within the Lantigua administration. In his last interview three months ago, Lantigua proclaimed his innocence and said he welcomed the federal probe.

For more on this story, see tomorrow's The Eagle-Tribune.

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