It says FBI agents once observed Garcia driving from the garage to the Bank of America on Winthrop Avenue, where it says he made two deposits into Lantigua’s campaign account. The affidavit does not allege that the money Garcia deposited included receipts from the garage, which included $20, $50 and $100 bills with recorded serial numbers that the agents used to buy passes at the garage in February and March, some of which has not been recovered.
The affidavit also says that after handing Matos the envelope containing cash from the garage on April 10, Garcia walked a second envelope with garage receipts into City Hall.
Lantigua and Garcia did not return phone calls last week. In an interview outside his office a few days before his arrest, Garcia denied wrongdoing.
Garcia worked as an aide to Lantigua while Lantigua served as a state representative. In Lawrence, Garcia was first hired as a parking attendant by Mayor Michael Sullivan in 2006 and left the city’s employment in 2008. A few months after taking office as mayor, Lantigua hired Garcia back at the garage and a short while later promoted him to senior attendant responsible for collections. He has served as the photographer for Lantigua’s campaign organization at least since 2009.
Matos was hired as a parking attendant under former Mayor Michael Sullivan in 2006. Matos declined to answer questions about his work for Lantigua’s campaigns, but it may have included tasks more menial than Garcia performed, including stuffing envelopes with the birthday cards and other personal greetings for which Lantigua is well-known.
State Rep. Marcos Devers, who is challenging Lantigua in September’s preliminary election for mayor, said Matos worked on Lantigua’s campaigns as early as 2006.
“When I was running against Lantigua for state representative (in 2006 and 2008), he was already there,” Devers said. “When we ran against each other for mayor (in 2009), he was there with Lantigua.”
“He’s one of the soldiers,” Devers said.