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Lawrence Mayor’s Ex-Chief Of Staff, Deputy Police Chief Indicted

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SALEM (CBS/AP) — Two associates of Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua are facing corruption charges.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mark Katic reports

The mayor’s former chief of staff, Leonard Degnan, and Deputy Police Chief Melix Bonilla were indicted Tuesday in what prosecutors said is an ongoing investigation.

They were arraigned Wednesday morning in Salem Superior Court and released on a promise to return November 8 for a pre-trial conference.

Both men were also ordered to surrender their passports.

Degnan faces charges including solicitation of a bribe, extortion and conspiracy. Prosecutors said he pressured a city trash contractor to donate a truck to Lantigua’s native Dominican Republic.

The charges against Bonilla include fraudulent conversion of city property, conspiracy and extortion. Prosecutors say he swapped 13 vehicles the city seized in drug busts to a car dealer with close ties to Lantigua. The state Inspector General says the deal for four cars cost the city $30,000.

Bonilla said he hasn’t done anything wrong.

Lantigua was not in court for the arraignment, but issued a statement Wednesday afternoon.

“The indictments issued yesterday by Essex County District Attorney’s Office are very serious. I trust the justice system will now take its rightful course. As indicated by authorities, indictments are allegations only and Melix and Lenny are presumed innocent until proven guilty,” the statement said. “I will continue serving the residents and perform my duties as Mayor of the Great City of Lawrence.”

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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