Lantigua tucks a little something extra into birthday cards

Willy Lantigua sent this card to Lawrence City Councilor Marc Laplante.
Willy Lantigua sent this card to Lawrence City Councilor Marc Laplante.Handout photo

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Every year, Lawrence City Councilor Marc LaPlante and countless other Lawrence residents receive a birthday card from his honor, Mayor William Lantigua. But when LaPlante received his card this year, he thought he was seeing things.

Tucked inside the card — which featured a cat in a party hat imploring him to have an “Extra-special day!” — was a crisp dollar bill. No explanation. No handwritten message. Just a dollar bill.

“It was weird and peculiar,” said LaPlante, a frequent critic of Lantigua’s. “I don’t understand why a person in his position would send money to someone — that amount — to someone who has been at odds with him. It doesn’t make sense.”

LaPlante, whose birthday was Thursday, was not sure how to react. So he called the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance — whose rules prohibit candidates from buying votes.

They gave him a lot of options, but in the end he came up with his own simple solution.

“Rather than being part of his game, I’ll just give it back,” said LaPlante.

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