METHUEN — Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua weighed in on the search for a new city solicitor yesterday, saying one of the candidates for the job has misled the Methuen City Council in order to get the job while at the same time “falsely attacking” him.
Lantigua sent a memo to the Methuen City Council, with a copy to The Eagle-Tribune, in an effort to refute statements made by city solicitor candidate Richard D’Agostino to the council and The Eagle-Tribune.
“I am compelled to share that I am extremely dismayed that an individual whom I liked, trusted and enjoyed a long relationship with, both as a client and friend, now falsely attacks me,” Lantigua wrote. “He intends to intentionally mislead the Methuen City Council for the purpose of securing employment.”
On Tuesday night, D’Agostino, one of two finalists for the city solicitor’s job to replace Peter McQuillan, who was not reappointed, told the City Council during a public interview that he was fired by Lantigua because he wouldn’t cooperate with a “corrupt mayor.”
D’Agostino, 58, of Salem, N.H., is the former assistant city solicitor in Lawrence. He says he was fired in April 2012 after returning from 16 months of medical leave.
“I stood up to a corrupt mayor,” he told the council. “My record is impeccable and I’ll stand behind it.”
On Thursday, he spoke with reporters and editors at The Eagle-Tribune, saying he is cooperating with law enforcement authorities in an ongoing investigation of Lantigua.
“Someone needs to stand up and at least say, ‘No,’ to the reign of terror that’s gone on in Lawrence,” D’Agostino said.
In Lantigua’s response, he refused to address some of the comments made by D’Agostino.
“Out of decorum, I shall not address his ... claims that he was ‘fired by a corrupt mayor,’” he wrote. “I shall suffice it to say that these assertions are as meritless as his claim of being fired.”