Ex-Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua Still Under Investigation, Still Running for Office

William Lantigua.
William Lantigua.
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William Lantigua, the former mayor of Lawrence whose career in public service has been marred by allegations of corruption, continued his political comeback this week with some good and bad news for his campaign.

The good news? He and his team of political operatives broke ground on their new campaign headquarters in Lawrence on Thursday as Lantigua’s quest to regain his former State House seat continues.

The bad news? Unsurprisingly, not everybody in Lawrence is on board with his return to politics, according to a new report.

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An anti-Lantigua super PAC was recently formed to help prevent the city’s one-time leader from becoming a paid civil servant again, reported The Boston Herald.

Lantigua, who lost his mayoral re-election to Daniel Rivera in November after a much publicized recount, has set his sights on the 16th Essex District — the same state House of Representatives seat he previously held from 2002 to 2010. He will be up against incumbent Democrat Marcos Devers.

But the United Puerto Rican Political Action Committee plans to “rally the political energy of the area’s Puerto Rican community” because “he let us down,” its president told The Herald. “We really don’t want Willie to go back to the State House,” said Angel R. Rivera.

The city of Lawrence has a population that is nearly 74 percent Hispanic or Latino. Lantigua is a native of the Dominican Republic.

The news of the PAC’s existence comes two weeks after a report about a criminal investigation by the state into Lantigua’s alleged involvement in a paving scam in Lawrence.

Earlier this year, Lantigua’s former aide was jailed after being found guilty of trying to strong-arm a Lawrence vendor to give a garbage truck to a city in the Dominican Republic. Two other associates of Lantigua are facing other criminal charges.

Lantigua, however, has avoided legal repercussions despite a petition to recall him from office, federal and state corruption investigations, and being sued by Attorney General Martha Coakley over campaign finance issues.