“The people David was advocating for didn’t get the contract,” Rivera said. “The hospital got it. Now that’s an issue?”
“David served his community for 14 years as a state representative. He was everywhere, so it’s going to appear like that,” he said of the possible appearance of conflict.
Rivera said he invited Lawrence General Hospital to take over the ambulance contract to fortify the hospital’s standing in the region, to provide what he said will be “world-class service” and to lift the pall over the Patriot contract that he said existed under former Mayor William Lantigua.
In 2011, co-owners Walton and Ryan were subpoenaed by grand juries investigating reports that Lantigua pressured them to donate ambulances to the city of Tenares in the Dominican Republic, which has provided an influx of immigrants — and voters — to Lawrence.
Lawrence General Hospital officials declined to be interviewed for this story but responded by email through its press office to a list of questions from The Eagle-Tribune.
The email — with answers attributed to Paul Brennan, the hospital’s director of emergency medical services, and to the hospital’s “executive leadership” — did not respond to a question about the lobbying for a competitor Torrisi did while serving on the hospital board. Generally, the email said, “measures are taken to be sure trustees with potential conflicts are not involved in discussions or decision-making around the conflict.”
Massachusetts state legislators are barred from returning to the Statehouse as lobbyists for up to two years after leaving office.Torrisi’s two-year clock ran out on Jan. 1. Since then, Torrisi’s consulting company, Torrisi Strategic Advisors, has taken on four clients. Besides Patriot Ambulance, they are:
– Lupoli Companies, owned by Sal Lupoli, the restaurateur and developer who may be the city’s biggest property owner. The company’s holdings include Riverfront Properties on Merrimack, a 1.4-million-square foot commercial property.
– Alternative Therapies Group, a marijuana dispensary opening in Salem, Mass.q Chris Edwards, a board member of Alternative Therapies, said Torrisi was retained “to make introductions at the local level.”
– The American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts. The agency retained Torrisi to manage its “legislative and municipal relationships,” according to lobbying disclosure records on file with the Secretary of State.