Attorney General Martha Coakley sues Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua over campaign finance irregularities

Attorney General Martha Coakley sued Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua today for failing to file a 2011 campaign finance report or pay daily fines imposed by the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance.

Lantigua, who has said he plans to run for re-election in 2013, filed no campaign reports in 2011 and has been fined $25 a day since the deadline last Jan. 20. He now owes $5,000, the maximum fine possible.

The lawsuit asks a judge to order Lantigua to pay the fine personally — not out of campaign funds — and to file required reports “immediately.”

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

“Political candidates by law are required to accurately report campaign contributions and expenditures,” said Coakley in a statement.

“These disclosures ensure the integrity of the electoral system and help voters make informed decisions about who to support. Mayor Lantigua was ordered repeatedly to file these disclosures and pay the subsequent fine, yet has refused to do so. We are now seeking a court order compelling him to make these fundamental disclosures required of all political candidates.”

Coakley’s office is still undertaking a criminal investigation of Lantigua—whose campaign routinely violated campaign finance laws, a Globe review found.

In asking the attorney general to investigate, the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance said that nine people and Lantigua’s committee violated campaign law, including Melix Bonilla, a Lawrence deputy police chief and Lantigua’s campaign manager, who is now under indictment in Essex County.

Lantigua could not be immediately reached for comment.