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State removes lien against Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua

Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua.

Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff

Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua.

The Massachusetts Department of Revenue released Friday a tax lien of $5,475 against William Lantigua, the embattled mayor of Lawrence who announced plans last week to run for reelection.

The lien was recorded with the Northern Essex Registry of Deeds on Wednesday. It was placed against the mayor for failure to pay his 2011 state income tax. The total lien amount included more than $700 in penalties and interest.

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The Revenue Department removes liens when the overdue amount is paid in full or the department determines that the money is not owed. It was not clear Friday if Lantigua had paid the fees or if the department determined the money was not owed.

Reached by phone Friday, Lantigua declined to comment on the lien and how it came to be released. The Revenue Department would not specify how the matter was resolved.

News of the lien came just days after the mayor announced his candidacy for reelection during a gathering at a bar and grill in Lawrence Dec. 28. Lantigua has been dogged by state and federal investigations into allegations of corruption since he was elected in 2009. In September, two officials close to Lantigua were indicted on charges including conspiracy and extor­tion.

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Leonard Degnan, Lantigua’s former chief of staff, was charged with influencing an employee of a trash disposal company to donate a garbage truck to a town in the Dominican Republic.

Melix ­Bonilla, a deputy police chief, was charged with falsely transferring ownership of 13 Police Department ­vehicles to an auto dealer associated with Lantigua.

Both Degnan and Bonilla have pleaded not guilty, and Lantigua has not been charged with any crimes.

Roger Twomey, a Lawrence city councilor, said he does not believe the lien against Lantigua was significantly tied to municipal affairs.

“This to me is a private matter between he and the Department of Revenue, even though he is the mayor,” Twomey said.

But Councilor Marc Laplante said the mayor should explain the lien and the reasons it was placed against him.

“I think that because he’s a public figure, he is held to a higher standard,” Laplante said. “I think he needs to provide some assurances to the residents of Lawrence that he has these kinds of matters ­under control. We look upon him to lead our city and be responsible.”

Zachary T. Sampson can be reached at zachary.sampson@
globe.com
. Peter Schworm can be reached at schworm@
globe.com
. Follow him on
Twitter @globepete.
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