Israel Reyes Accepts Campaign Benefits from Developers he Lobbied for as a Member of the Planning Board

Of Our Expose on Planning Board Member Israel Reyes Part 11


  Before there was a Valley Patriot (established in 2004) there was, a blog before there were blogs, a news webpage before there were news webpages. Long before there was an Eagle Tribune web page or a there was a Valley Patriot Publisher Tom Duggan has allowed The Valley Patriot Web archive to list some of his previous columns going as far back as 1999. 


Originally published 10/13/03

 A Review of The facts:

Israel Reyes is a member of the Lawrence Planning Board.

Or, he was.

Fellow Planning Board members asked him to resign recently because of possible conflicts of interest.

He is also an employee of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, specifically he is overseeing the road and sidewalk reconstruction project on Broadway in Lawrence (Route 28).

 Mr. Reyes is also running for City Council, At-Large (City Wide) in Lawrence.

 He raised $18,820.00 for his campaign prior to the September 23rd preliminary election.

If he wins, the job of City Councilor pays $5,000 a year before taxes.

Israel Reyes

As stated in Part 1 one of this expose, (Reyes Lobbied Planning Board for Contributors), while a member of the Lawrence Planning Board, Israel Reyes took donations from Jeffrey Steuart and Bud Rob Robitalle, developers who petitioned the Planning Board for approval on their project. Reyes lobbied for that project at 372-374 Broadway and worked personally with the developers to help them comply with Planning Board restrictions.

 Shortly after Reyes lobbied and voted for that project, Both Steuart and Robitalle gave maximum donations to Reyes’ campaign for City Council.

 But Robitalle and Steuart aren’t the only developers and realtors involved in the 372-374 strip mall project who gave hefty sums to Reyes after he lobbied and voted for the strip mall development.

 Reyes also took donations from Frank D’Orlando (aka Leonard F. Orlando) of Lynnfield Massachusetts.

 D’Orlando donated $500 to the Reyes campaign, as did a Lisa D’Orlando of the same address, 37 Grey Lane in Lynnfield. According to the Secretary of State’s office, Frank and Lisa D’Orlando are listed as the president and Clerk of Showcase Laundry (now located at 372-374 Broadway) and Governor’s Realty Trust, aka Joint Eagle Realty Trust, the same Trust which was represented before the board on the Broadway project.

 Then there is the question of Mr. John Herisch. His name was misspelled on the Reyes campaign finance report, but a search of the Secretary of State’s database shows a John GERISCH of the same address listed on the Reyes report, as well as being listed as the owner of PMC Investors.

 Mr. Gerisch/Herisch is coincidentally the treasurer of Broadway North Showcase Laundry (372-374 Broadway) and has a business address in Arizona. He donated $500 to the Reyes campaign on June 30, 2003.

 The same petitioners involved in the 372-374 Broadway development petitioned the Lawrence Planning Board for 360 Broadway for a new “Coffee Break” franchise.

 (Meeting Minutes; Lawrence Planning Board)

 So, with this one project alone (360, 372-374 Broadway) the timeline for Reyes’ activity now looks like this

 Officers and business owners involved in the 372-374 Broadway Project

 February 2003, the Lawrence Planning Board approves the project request of Governor’s Joint Venture Realty Trust, Showcase Laundry, Metro Sign and Awning Company etc. for a strip mall at 372-374 Broadway.

April 3, 2003, Frank D’Orlando (an officer in the realty trust) contributed $500

April 25, 2003, Kathleen Robitaille (listed as an officer and at the same address as Arthur (Bud) Robitaille donated $500 to the Reyes campaign · May 22, 2003, Jeffrey Steuart donated $500 (also an officer)

June 30, 2003, John Gerisch/Herisch donated $500 to the Reyes Campaign

July 8, 2003, Lisa D’Orlando donated $500

(Campaign Finance Report filed by Israel Reyes on file at the Lawrence City Clerk’s Office)

 Another Contributor to the Reyes Campaign went before the Lawrence Planning Board seeking a variance to build a residential condominium development in the Bay State Building on Lawrence Street.

 Saher Abdel-Hadi, applied for the variance on April 9, 2003 and his project was approved by the Planning Board (motion made by Mr. Reyes) on June 4,2003.

 On July 18, 2003 Mr. Saher Abdel-Hadi made a $200 donation to the Reyes campaign for City Council.

 From April 2003 to September 15 2003 Israel Reyes accepted donations totaling $2,600 from individuals who had projects approved by Reyes as a member of the Planning Board.

 This figure also includes a $100 donation by Nester DeJesus who sold property at 342 Broadway to the Joint Venture Realty Trust on October 22, 2003. DeJesus is the brother of Mayor Sullivan’s Aide Jorje DeJesus. The Planning Board approved that plan on October 22, 2002.

 Mayor Sullivan appointed Mr. Reyes to the Lawrence Planning Board and is openly endorsing the campaign of Mr. Reyes who is seeking one of the three At-Large City Council positions.

 The position of Lawrence City Councilor pays $5,000 per year.

 (Coming….Part 3: When the Lawrence High School construction project goes before the Planning Board and the City Council) to approve new or amended plans, who speaks for the developers? Here’s a hint! – He is listed as another contributor to the Reyes campaign)