EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

September 18, 2013

A raucous night at City Hall as mayor leads five challengers with 48 percent


Speaking in Spanish for about half an hour, Lantigua hinted at the allegations of corruption and irregularities that have been lodged against his administration and his campaign organization, asserting that his campaign took no special interest money and that most of his contributors gave small amounts.

March to City Hall

He ended his speech by stepping into the crowd of backslapping, hooting supporters, leading them out the door for a one-block march to City Hall where he delivered a second address in the building’s atrium that was interrupted by a reverend who led one of the failed recalls.

Climbing up the open stairway from the basement where he was waiting for official results from the Election Division, Rev. Edwin Rodriguez looked up at Lantigua from a platform midway up the stairs and gave him a thumbs down. Lantigua responded by leaning over the rail and, grinning broadly, denouncing the reverend as “el diablo,” or “the devil” as the crowd whooped its approval in a deafening roar that ricocheted through the four-story atrium.

Several Lantigua supporters surrounded Rodriguez and began pressing in until police Lt. Shawn Conway got between them and led Rodriguez away by the arm.

“This is your City Hall,” Lantigua told the crowd, again in Spanish. “This is the City Hall of the community.”

Leaning over the rail again, Lantigua flashed four fingers and led his supporters a chant of “cuatro anos mas,” or “four more years.”

Rodriguez made it away from the confrontation unharmed. But O’Donoghue, the fifth runner up in the preliminary, had the glasses slapped from his face by Dalia Diaz, the editor of a Spanish-language newspaper in another incident in the City Hall atrium.

“He called me a liar,” Diaz said about a disagreement she had with O’Donoghue over a column that appears this week in her paper, Rumbo, in which she calls O’Donoghue “foolish” for mocking the CVS pharmacy that opened on Broadway last year that Lantigua often points to as a sign of the city’s recovery.

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