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November 22, 2013

Never mind: Rivera transition team appointment lasts 14 hours

Rivera transition team appointment lasts 14 hours

LAWRENCE — A developer who stiffed the city on a $68,625 tax debt four years ago was invited to join the transition team Daniel Rivera is assembling to advise him if he prevails in today’s recount, but his name was removed from the team roster 14 hours after documents about the unpaid tax bills surfaced.

Two aides said Rivera was not aware of developer Alberto Nunez’s property tax delinquencies and that his name was added to the roster by mistake after he declined the invitation to join the transition team.

Rivera, a two-term city councilor who leads Lantigua by 58 votes going into today’s recount, announced the team’s membership at a press conference at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

At 7:24 a.m. Thursday, an aide sent out an email saying Nunez was not on the team.

“Copy error, it happens (mostly at the most in-opportune times),” campaign aide Kate Reilly said in an e-mail explaining the mistake.

“We were not aware of anything to do with taxes and haven’t seen anything to that effect,” said Maggie Super Church, who is co-chairing Rivera’s transition team.

Nunez reiterated Reilly’s account that he was added to the team by mistake.

“We have a very good relationship, but when I talked to him, I said I’ve been so busy,” Nunez said about a conversation he had with Rivera about serving on the housing committee of the transition team. “I have five or six projects going on. And I’ve been sick. I have too much on my plate.”

Wednesday’s announcement that Nunez would not be on Rivera’s transition team came a few hours before Kathy Runge, who ran unsuccessfully for City Council on Nov. 5, e-mailed tax documents showing Nunez was $68,625 delinquent on property taxes for four parcels in Lawrence in 2008 and 2009. Unable to collect the debt, the city sold it to a private collection agency, presumably for less than it was worth, the records show.

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