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June 16, 2013

Second parking clerk denies wrongdoing


The affidavit says only that Matos received the hand-off, but does not say what happened to the envelope, how much cash may have been in it, or where it may have ended up.

Spokesmen for the state police did not return phone calls last week seeking information about why Matos has not been charged if police witnessed him receiving cash they say Garcia skimmed from receipts at the Museum Square garage.

Matos said he has not hired a lawyer. Garcia’s lawyer, Sal Tabit, on Friday reaffirmed Garcia’s innocence and said the envelope he passed to Matos on April 10 did not contain cash.

“From my initial investigation and research, there was no money in that envelope,” said Tabit, who said he has interviewed Matos as well as Garcia. “I know what was in that envelope. It’s nothing nefarious, but I really don’t want to talk about it right now. But it was totally unrelated to any alleged theft from the parking garage.”

Garcia and Matos have more in common than their jobs in city garages and parking lots and their joint appearance in the police affidavit used to charge Garcia.

Both men testified before an Essex County grand jury investigating allegations of corruption in the Lantigua Administration, which already has indicted Lantigua’s former chief of staff, Leonard Degnan, and Deputy Police Chief Melix Bonilla. Garcia testified on May 30, 2012; Matos testified on May 29, the same day Lantigua appeared before the grand jury.

Both men also are foot soldiers for Lantigua’s political organization, which also is mentioned in the police affidavit alleging the thefts from the garage.

The document says a surveillance camera installed in Garcia’s office in the Museum Square garage recorded Garcia writing checks “pertaining to the William Lantigua political campaign account” while on the job.

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