By: Tom Duggan, 4-4-16
Former Lawrence Mayor Willie Lantigua is in trouble again with the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF). The state’s political watchdog agency has fined Lantigua another $1,875 (as of 4-3-16) for refusing to file his 2015 year-end, campaign finance reports with the state. The reports were due on January 20, 2016.
According to Massachusetts State Law, candidates who do not file on time must be fined $25 per day, for each day after the deadline, capping the fine at $5,000.
The law also states that campaign fines must be paid by the individual. Campaign finance money must not be used to pay these fines.
According to records at the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s Office, former Mayor Lantigua was fined the maximum of $5,000 last year for refusing to file the legally required mid-year, campaign finance reports. The reports were due on June 30, 2015. According to state records, Lantigua has not paid that fine nor has he made any effort to file the legally mandated reports.
As of the date of this report, Lantigua owes the state a total $6,875, but that number is still rising at $25 per day until it stops at $10,000 ($5,000 for each report due).
Campaign finance reports are legal documents on which, the candidate must declare the amount of money taken in from donations, fund-raisers, etc., as well as all campaign expenses and bank activity. Candidates must also list the names, addresses and employers of those who made donations to the campaign, the amount donated, and the name of the donor’s employer.
Last year, OCPF sent a letter to Lantigua notifying him that he had not yet turned over the mandatory mid-year campaign reports, warning him that he had already accrued $3, 425 in fines at that time.
If Lantigua refuses to pay the current fines against him, Attorney General Maura Healey can either charge him criminally, or sue him civilly as prior AG Martha Coakley did once before.
LANTIGUA’S HISTORY OF ILLEGAL CAMPAIGN ACTIVITY
Former Lawrence Mayor and former State Representative William Lantigua has had a long sordid history of refusing to disclose campaign activity, donations and expenses to the state.
Lantigua was sued in 2013, by Attorney General Martha Coakley and the Office of Campaign and Political Finance for committing several campaign finance law violations, including accepting several thousands of dollars in potentially illegal cash and corporate contributions.
Also in 2013, Lantigua campaign worker, Justo Garcia was indicted as a city worker (hired by Lantigua). Garcia was charged with stealing money from the city’s parking garages and depositing the money directly into Lantigua’s campaign account.
According to OCPF records, in 2009 Lantigua “either received or failed to report as expenditures or unpaid liabilities four potentially illegal contributions from Rumbo Newspaper in the form of advertisements.”
In 2010, the mayor received or failed to report close to $5,000 in contributions from 60 Island Street, L.L.C. in the form of food and beverage and room rental fees.
Lantigua also failed to report nearly $20,000 worth of expenditures from his campaign account during 2009, including a more than $9,000 payment to Costa Eagle Radio for advertising.
Charges were filed against Lantigua who agreed that because of “previous inaccurate campaign finance disclosures,” he would adhere to an “enhanced reporting schedule with OCPF” during 2009, but failed to meet the deadlines for three reporting periods, including; Jan. 1 to April 30, 2009, May 1 to Aug. 31, 2009 and Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2009.
In addition to being filed late, all three financial disclosures were also “inaccurate, incomplete or unsigned.”
In January 2013, AG Coakley and OCPF sued Lantigua for failing to file a 2011 campaign finance report. Lantigua later paid a $5,000 civil fine and filed the missing report.