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Lawrence Mayor, Girlfriend Getting Heating Aid Assistance?

LAWRENCE (CBS/AP) – The girlfriend of embattled Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua says she received federal fuel aid to heat a condo the two now share.

WBZ-TV’s Jonathan Elias reports

Lorenza Ortega, a $45,000-a-year City Hall employee, told the Eagle-Tribune of North Andover on Tuesday that she applied for and received the subsidy last year.

She did not say how much she collected.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports

Aid guidelines indicate the annual subsidy, paid to the energy provider, could be as high as $1,165.

She did not say when Lantigua, who makes around $100,000 a year, moved into her condo.

The mayor told city councilors last week he lives at an address where Ortega also lives.

The mayor did not return phone calls for comment. Wednesday afternoon he released a statement that read:

“On Tuesday, May 10, 2011, I learned for the first time that the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, LIHEAP Fuel Assistance Program had provided fuel assistance to 86 Boxford Street, which is now my residence. Ms. Lorenza Ortega, the owner of the property, took immediate steps to reimburse the program, and made all efforts to ensure that there will be no further issues.

Until this story was leaked to the press, I was completely unaware that any assistance was being provided to that address and apologize for any mistakes that were made. Now that this matter has been appropriately addressed, I will again turn my focus to all the pressing, critical issues facing the City.”

Lantigua has strongly denied recent published reports that said he was a target of a corruption investigation.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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