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June 23, 2013

Garcia's lawyer claims no theft at garage, just poor oversight


The police affidavit provides details of the joint investigation with the FBI, which included the use of undercover agents, a hidden camera, around-the-clock surveillance and a GPS placed in Garcia’s SUV to track his movements. It says a “reconciliation and analysis” of the revenues Garcia turned over in October, November, December 2012 and January 2013 shows the revenues were $6,565 short of what he reported collecting.

The affidavit also says a hidden camera recorded Garcia doing political work for Lantigua in his office at the garage during the workday. Garcia is the photographer for Lantigua’s campaign organization, a role he played as recently last Sunday when he photographed the entourage that marched for Lantigua in the parade that ended the Semana Hispana celebrations.

Garcia was hired at the parking division by former Mayor Michael Sullivan on Dec. 11, 2006. He left sometime in 2008 to work as a legislative aide to Lantigua, who was then a state representative. Lantigua brought him back to the city payroll as a parking attendant on April 5, 2010, three months after Lantigua was sworn in as mayor. Lantigua later promoted Garcia to a job that put him in charge of collections for the monthly parking passes. Last year, Garcia earned $39,520.

John Isensee, the acting director of public works, reassigned Garcia to a maintenance job after his arrest. DPW oversees the parking division.

Isensee could not be reached for comment on Tabit’s allegations that lax oversight and inept management, not theft, are responsible for any missing cash at the Museum Square garage.

That defense could put Tabit on a collision course with an old friend, the mayor, who is ultimately responsible for all city operations. Their personal, professional and political relationship stretches back to 1998, when Tabit made a first run for public office, Tabit said.

He said he represented Lantigua “on minor (legal) issues years and years ago.” Tabit also monitored polls for Lantigua on Election Day 2009 and sometimes visited him in his third-floor office at City Hall in the months after his election. He also has been hired in the past to act as a hearing officer in personnel cases.

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