EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 23, 2013

Lantigua averts court order by filing disclosures

He's got $15,000 in bank, as rivals ponder a challenge


Whether Lantigua has paid the fine could not be learned last night. He is personally liable for the fine and cannot pass it on to his campaign organization, so the payment does not appear on his disclosure forms.

The two forms Lantigua filed yesterday show he spent heavily in 2011, a year when he himself was not on the ballot but faced two recall attempts and also campaigned fiercely across the city to elect his favored candidates to City Council and School Committee. Both recall attempts failed and the mayor had mixed success electing his candidates, including one council candidate whose unsuccessful campaign he managed.

Lantigua began 2011 with $35,000 in the bank and raised another $17,140, including $4,000 that he personally lent his campaign organization. His spending – including $8,170 to print campaign postcards, $7,202 for four campaign events, $3,700 for campaign commercials broadcast on Univision, $1,426 for robo telephone calls and a $557 cell phone bill - reduced his balance at the end that year to $10,024.

Last year, he raised just $4,100 and spent $1,855.

Forty-nine people contributed to Lantigua’s campaign organization in 2011, a number that shrunk to 11 last year. For both years, the list of contributors includes city employees, nightclub owners and city contractors, and includes three men who have been subpoenaed by grand juries investigating alleged corruption in the Lantigua administration. The three are Police Officer Gary Yancey, DPW foreman Jorge Jaime and David Walton, the owner of Patriot Ambulance, a city contractor.

Lantigua has not been indicted, but his former chief of staff, Leonard Degnan, and his deputy police chief and top political lieutenant, Melix Bonilla, were indicted last year on corruption charges. Their trials are pending.

“At some level, that weakens him,” City Councilor Marc Laplante, who is considering challenging Lantigua, said yesterday about the indictments and the grand juries that still are meeting. “The question is how much.”

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