EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 23, 2012

Latest Licensing Board appointee may be in jeopardy

More delays for liquor, other applicants possible

LAWRENCE — Two weeks after a man Mayor Willliam Lantigua placed on the Licensing Board was forced to quit, Lantigua’s second choice may also be headed for the exit.

That could add at least two more weeks of delay for the bars, restaurants, package stores, bodegas and used car dealers who received licenses and other approvals at the Licensing Board’s Sept. 26 meeting, only to have them revoked because board member Alfonso Garcia was not properly seated when he voted for the approvals.

The board is scheduled to reconsider those approvals tomorrow, even as new doubts arise over whether one of Garcia’s successors to the board, Luis Martinez, also is holding the seat in violation of state law.

The chaos on the Licensing Board began just hours before its last meeting Sept. 26, when Lantigua invoked emergency powers to appoint Garcia without sending the nomination to the City Council for review (the council already had blocked Lantigua’s earlier effort to place Garcia on the board).

Garcia held the seat only two weeks, until Oct. 9, when City Attorney Charles Boddy said Lantigua has no authority to make emergency appointments to the board. Boddy said Garcia’s nomination was invalid, adding that the liquor licenses and other permits Garcia voted to approve at last month’s meeting were void.

The establishments that lost their licenses are scheduled to reapply for them at tomorrow’s Licensing Board meeting. Among them is a religious fraternity that sought a two-day permit to serve alcohol at an event on Sept. 29 and 30, which will put the fraternity in the bizarre position of seeking permission to serve drinks that already have been drunk.

After Garcia was removed from the board, Lantigua nominated Martinez and Pedro Torres to fill Garcia’s seat and one other vacancy on the three-member board. The City Council approved both men Oct. 16.

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