EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

March 24, 2014

Torrisifaces potential conflicts


Beyond his work for Patriot, Torrisi faces at least one other significant competing interest at City Hall as he grows his new lobbying business and walks his clients – who also include developer and restaurateur Sal Lupoli, owner of the 1.4 million-square-foot Riverwalk Properties – up to Rivera’s third-floor suite of offices.

Torrisi’s sister is Rivera’s chief of staff.

Rivera’s decision to tap Lisa Torrisi as his top aide capped a 20-year friendship with the family, which began when he and David Torrisi met while working on Andover Sen. Barry Finegold’s first campaign for the Statehouse. The friendship grew in several ways last year, when Torrisi helped steer Rivera’s long-shot campaign for mayor.

Torrisi served as a top adviser to the campaign, as Rivera’s lawyer through the recount that followed the election and as the master of ceremonies at Rivera’s inaugural ceremony in January. In all, Torrisi family members gave at least $2,600 to Rivera’s campaign, making the family his biggest donor.

The family business, Jackson Lumber and Millwork on Jackson Street, donated another $5,000 to Rivera’s inaugural ceremonies.

Torrisi’s work on Rivera’s campaign and his family’s political donations don’t necessarily pose conflicts for either man when Torrisi shows up at City Hall with a client. McNulty said. Those relationships are common in politics and government. But McNulty said the sibling relationship between the mayor’s top aide and a prominent local lobbyist whose clients include one of the city’s leading developers could present recurring ethical issues for the Rivera administration.

“For the mayor, there could be the appearance of a conflict of interest due to the fact that the sister of Mr. Torrisi is the mayor’s chief of staff,” McNulty said. “From the mayor’s perspective, he’d want to avoid that appearance and probably want to keep a distance from Mr. Torrisi in any lobbying context.”

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