SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

April 1, 2014

Former Lantigua aide found guilty

LAWRENCE — A jury yesterday convicted Leonard Degnan of four counts of bribery and conspiracy in a crashing criminal blow to the former administration of Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua.

Degnan, Lantigua’s former chief of staff and right-hand man, was cleared of one count of extortion, which carried a maximum penalty of 15 years in state prison — the heftiest of the charges.

The North Andover resident was convicted for pressuring a city contractor, Allied Waste, to donate a trash truck to the city of Tenares in the Dominican Republic, Lantigua’s native country. An Allied Waste employee testified Degnan “threatened” and “squeezed” him for trash truck donations after Lantigua was elected but before he formally was sworn in to office in January 2010.

Prosecutors stressed that the case was about more than a trash truck; it was a blatant violation of the public trust.

Called as a witness in Degnan’s defense during the 31/2-day trial, Lantigua asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and never took the stand. Former public works director Frank McCann also took the Fifth.

Since taking office in 2010, Lantigua and his administration have been dogged by allegations involving the trash truck, other vehicle donations to the Dominican Republic, bid-rigging, suspicious out-of-country travel and more. To date, Lantigua has not faced criminal charges.

A 12-person jury in Lawrence Superior Court deliberated for more than nine hours before convicting Degnan, a married father of three, of solicitation of a bribe with corrupt intent, conspiracy, knowing solicitation of the bribe and unlawful use of an official position. On the final charge, jurors specified Degnan defrauded “the citizens of Lawrence,” according to the verdict slip read aloud in court yesterday.

Degnan and family members in the courtroom were silent as the verdicts were read just after 4 p.m. yesterday. Judge Douglas Wilkins ordered Degnan held at Middleton Jail pending his sentencing Thursday morning at 9.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • Keenan to resign to take Salem State job

    SALEM — State Rep. John Keenan said Tuesday he will resign from office Aug. 24 to take a new job as vice president of administration at Salem State University.
    His announcement ended months of speculation about where the five-term Democrat would end up after leaving the Legislature. As it turns out, he is leaving four months before his term would have expired.

    July 29, 2014

  • Buczko Legislature approves naming Salem Probate Court after Judge Thaddeus Buczko

    BOSTON — The Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill to designate the Essex Probate and Family Court, located in Salem, in honor of Judge Thaddeus Buczko.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Chism attorney wants 'youthful offender' indictments dismissed

    Philip Chism's attorney will argue that the state's "youthful offender" law, which requires that the Danvers teen be tried as an adult in last fall's rape and murder of his teacher, is unconstitutional.
    In documents filed Monday, defense attorney Denise Regan contends that the statute, enacted in 1996, creates two classes of children within the court system, distinguishing them based solely on the charge.

    July 29, 2014

  • Whale watching boat snagged by lobster trap rope

    BOSTON (AP) — They weren't castaways, but like the tourists on Gilligan's Island, a group of whale watchers expecting only a three-hour tour got much more after their boat was snagged by a lobster trap rope off Massachusetts and they were forced to spend a long night at sea.

    July 29, 2014

  • Market Basket store managers vow to resign

    Store managers and assistant managers at Market Baskets in the area signed petitions Monday declaring they would work only for Arthur T. Demoulas, no matter who buys the grocery chain. "It was a voluntary petition," Salem store manager Dave Webber sa

    July 29, 2014 1 Story