EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

November 5, 2011

Lantigua recall stalls at first step a second time

Click HERE to read the full text of City Attorney Charles Boddy's letter.

LAWRENCE — For a second time, an effort to recall Mayor William Lantigua failed before it started — this time because the affidavit seeking the recall was not notarized.

"We cannot go forward because it was not sworn to under oath," said City Attorney Charles Boddy.

The group Uniting Lawrence handed in an affidavit signed by more than 100 voters Wednesday, the first step under the City Charter to oust a sitting mayor. But because it was not notarized, Boddy said it was no good.

Boddy's ruling is not deterring the group, which says its ready to resubmit the affidavit to start gathering the 5,232 signatures needed for a recall election to happen. They hope to start collecting those signatures at Tuesday's city election.

"Was I surprised? Yes. Was I disappointed? Yes. But this gives us an additional incentive to go forward again," said Anthony DiFruscia, a lawyer working with Uniting Lawrence. "People are angry now, they view it as a blessing in disguise. It's not going to deter us from not being at the polls on election day. We're more prepared than ever before."

In July, the group It's Your Right also tried to launch a recall against the state's first Hispanic mayor. It too failed at the first step because the pages signed by the 100 voters had different wording at the top of the pages.

The group fixed the problems with the affidavit and resubmitted it, moving the recall process forward. The July affidavit was not notarized when it was submitted, but City Clerk William Maloney still allowed the recall process to continue.

While It's Your Right met the second step in the recall process of collecting 5,232 voter signatures to force an election, Maloney said not enough signatures could be verified as registered voters, killing the recall effort.

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