Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua is sued over alleged campaign finance violations

Mayor William Lantigua of Lawrence (L) leaves Essex Superior Courthouse with Attorney Jeffrey Denner in Salem, Massachusetts May 29, 2013. (Jessica Rinaldi For The Boston Globe)
Mayor William Lantigua of Lawrence testified in late May before a grand jury investigating the parking garage case.
Jessica Rinaldi for The Boston Globe

Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua is being sued by the state attorney general and campaign finance regulators for alleged campaign finance law violations, in the latest round of trouble for an official who has been dogged by controversy.

Lantigua, among other things, allegedly accepted thousands of dollars in potentially illegal cash and corporate contributions, Attorney General Martha Coakley and the Office of Campaign and Political Finance said in a joint statement announcing the lawsuit.

“Campaign finance laws ensure the integrity of the electoral system,” Coakley said. “These disclosures are important to let voters know where candidates’ contributions are coming from and to help them make informed decisions about who to support.”

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The lawsuit was filed today in Suffolk Superior Court. Also named as defendants were the Committee to Elect William Lantigua and Ana Soto of Lawrence, the committee’s current treasurer. The case had been referred to the attorney general’s office by the campaign finance regulators in January 2012.

Lantigua has faced federal and state corruption investigations for at least two years.

A Lantigua political ally was arrested in June on charges of stealing money from the city-owned garage where he worked and of illegally doing campaign work for Lantigua while on the job.

Two other Lantigua allies are awaiting trial on public corruption charges, including his former campaign manager and his former chief of staff, who were indicted in September.

Earlier this year, Lantigua paid $5,000 to settle a previous lawsuit brought by Attorney General Martha Coakley over failure to file a campaign finance report.