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February 6, 2014

City Council replaces Lantigua with Torres

LAWRENCE — The City Council has replaced Mayra Lantigua on the Licensing Board, making her the third Lantigua bumped from the city payroll since Daniel Rivera defeated the first of them on Nov. 5.

The council’s 9-0 vote Tuesday nigh to replace Lantigua with businessman Pedro Torres came almost seven years after her term expired and five weeks after her former husband’s last day as mayor.

Lantigua had served on the Licensing Board since April 14, 2005, when Mayor Michael Sullivan nominated her to fill an unexpired term at a time when she was married to William Lantigua, who was then a state representative and Sullivan supporter. Her term expired June 1, 2007, but she continued to serve under a state law that allows members of local boards whose terms have expired to stay on until they are reappointed or replaced.

Several councilors protested that Mayra Lantigua should have resigned from the board when William Lantigua became mayor in January 2010. They said the position gave the mayor undue influence over who gets the limited number of liquor licenses the board hands out.

Former Mayor Lantigua rejected requests that he at least nominate Mayra Lantigua for re-appointment, apparently mindful of warnings that the council would reject her because of the alleged conflict.

Mayra Lantigua stayed on the board through all four years of her former husband’s term as mayor and was its only member for several months in 2010, after members Tom Murphy resigned and Rick Fielding, its former chairman, died.

William Lantigua elevated Mayra Lantigua to acting chairwoman after Fielding died in 2012, extending her reach over the local bars and clubs, some of which her former husband patronized.

Licensing Board chairmen receive a $2,600 stipend on top of the $2,500 that all three members are paid.

Rivera promised to replace Mayra Lantigua during his campaign for mayor last year. He followed through on the promise in his first days in office, when he nominated Torres to replace her.

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