EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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January 23, 2013

Lantigua averts court order by filing disclosures

He's got $15,000 in bank, as rivals ponder a challenge

LAWRENCE — Mayor William Lantigua yesterday filed forms detailing fundraising and spending by his campaign organization over the last two years, narrowly beating a deadline to respond to a lawsuit by state Attorney General Martha Coakley seeking to force the disclosure.

The two forms Lantigua filed yesterday show his fundraising dropped from 2011 to 2012, even as his re-election campaign approached. He had $15,683 in the bank as of Dec. 31, a moderate sum for an incumbent mayor expected to face a primary challenge in a little more than eight months. Just 11 people contributed to his campaign organization last year, half of them city employees or contractors, his forms show.

How much Lantigua spent on his first race for mayor in 2009 is not known because he still has not filed two of the three financial disclosure forms due that year.

His 2012 filing may contain gaps in reporting his expenses similar to the gaps alleged in 2009, 2010 and 2011, when he allegedly failed to report expenses associated with 15 campaign events at restaurants, nightclubs and catering halls around the city. Lantigua held his most recent event on Dec. 29 at Rio’s, an Appleton Street restaurant and nightclub, when he announced he would run for a second four-year term to about 100 supporters. The disclosure form for 2012 that he filed yesterday does not list expenses for the event.

Lantigua could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Attorney General Coakley also could not be reached to determine whether she would drop her suit seeking to force Lantigua to file his 2011 financial disclosure form now that he’s filed it. Her suit also seeks a court order directing Lantigua to pay a $5,000 fine he accumulated at a rate of $25-a-day last year for failing to file the 2011 form, a debt the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance has turned over to a private collection agency.

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