Governor quiet about Lantigua

By Michael Levenson
Globe Staff / April 26, 2011

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Governor Deval Patrick declined to say yesterday whether he still has confidence in Mayor William Lantigua of Lawrence, who is being investigated for possible corruption by federal and state authorities.

Asked directly if he has confidence in the mayor, Patrick said: “I know what I’ve read, but we’ve been contacted by no authorities.’’

Patrick also said he stands by the $35 million in loan guarantees his administration has given to Lawrence, which had been on the verge of insolvency. As part of the deal, Patrick appointed a state overseer who has worked closely with Lantigua to manage the city’s finances.

Some Republicans have called on the governor to step in with stronger oversight, but Patrick indicated yesterday that he was comfortable with the appointed overseer.

“I can tell you they have a plan; they are adhering to the plan in terms of their interaction with state government,’’ Patrick said in a brief interview in a State House elevator. “I think we are doing our job.’’

Law enforcement officials are particularly interested in the mayor’s control over which companies get towing business with the city and who is permitted to operate taxicabs.

On Sunday, Lantigua responded to the investigations, saying: “I am 100 percent innocent. It’s nothing but a whole bunch of innuendoes.’’