BOSTON — A former general manager of the company that holds Lawrence's $2 million trash removal contract was called yesterday before a federal grand jury investigating criminal allegations against Mayor William Lantigua.
Outside John Joseph Moakley Courthouse in South Boston, Stanley Walczak, former general manager of Allied Waste, said he is a cooperating witness, but refused to say why he was called or what he was supposed to testify about. He walked in about 9:30 a.m. and left the building within minutes, saying the grand jury was unexpectedly cancelled.
The grand jury is just one arm of a multi-jurisdictional investigation looking at allegations of narcotics, weapons, bid rigging, suspicious out-of-country travel and more, sources confirmed previously. Part of the investigation focuses on city-owned and other vehicles, including a trash truck, being shipped to Lantigua's native Dominican Republic, sources confirmed.
According to Walczak's resume on the online job networking site linkedin.com, he left Allied Waste in January 2011 after worked as a general manager there for 13 years and 10 months. The city has 15 months left in a three-year, $2 million contract with Allied Waste. A year ago, the company worked closely with Lawrence officials and residents when an automated trash removal system was unveiled in the city. A message left with the company, inquiring about Walczak's tenure there and trash truck donations, was not returned yesterday.
Lantigua also did not return a phone message seeking comment for this story. In previous interviews, the mayor has maintained his innocence and said he has not broken any laws and encouraged local, state and federal agencies to investigate him.
Walczak's appearance at court yesterday comes two weeks after Lantigua's ex-chief of staff Leonard Degnan spent nearly four hours inside the federal courthouse with his lawyer, James Landy. Degnan resigned abruptly in May and has refused to say whether he is a witness or a target of the grand jury.
Also testifying with Degnan was Frank McCann, the city's former public works director, who oversaw city trash disposal contracts and pickup services, and towing company owner Frank Coady,
Coady, whose company is one of four Lawrence businesses with alternating weekly towing privileges with the city, said afterwards he was assured he was not a target of the grand jury probe and declined further comment. McCann retired after 41 years with the city in June 2010, just six months after Lantigua was sworn into office.
In recent weeks, subpoenas also went out from the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance as part of an investigation into Lantigua's campaign fund-raising efforts and financial reporting. Many city clubs received subpoenas, along with Salvatore's restaurant, The Eagle-Tribune has reported.
A federal grand jury consists of 23 people, who sit in secrecy, to hear evidence concerning alleged crimes. The jurors are told they will serve 18 months and meet once weekly to weigh evidence, according to information posted on the federal court website.