Coakley sues Lawrence mayor for campaign finance violations

By Bryan Cohen | Aug 29, 2013

BOSTON (Legal Newsline) -- Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced on Tuesday a lawsuit against Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua for allegedly committing multiple violations of campaign finance law.

Coakley's office and the Office of Campaign and Political Finance filed the lawsuit against Lantigua, the Committee to Elect William Lantigua and Ana Soto, the committee's current treasurer.

The lawsuit alleges that during Lantigua's first run for mayor between 2008 and 2010, he accepted 16 cashier's checks or money orders worth more than $50 in potential violation of state law.

"Campaign finance laws ensure the integrity of the electoral system," Coakley said in a statement. "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."

Lantigua or his committee allegedly accepted more than $14,000 in potentially illegal cash contributions in 2009 without keeping accurate accounts of the deposits, received or failed to report as expenditures or unpaid liabilities four potentially illegal contributions from Rumbo Newspaper in the form of advertisements, received or failed to report close to $5,000 in contributions from 60 Island Street LLC in the form of room rental fees and food and beverages, and failed to report close to $20,000 worth of expenditures from his campaign account in 2009, among other alleged campaign finance law violations.

Coakley's lawsuit seeks that Lantigua forfeit, by payment to the state, certain contributions that may not have been reported accurately or were illegal.

The lawsuit also seeks to impose a fine on Lantigua, force him to pay court and attorney costs and order future compliance with the law.

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