LAWRENCE – Mayor Daniel Rivera did not violate the First Amendment rights of former Mayor William Lantigua's girlfriend – whom he later married – when he fired her from her secretarial job the day after he succeeded Lantigua at City Hall, a federal jury ruled Wednesday.
Lorenza Ortega, a city employee for nine years, alleged in her lawsuit against Rivera and the city that they mayor fired her from her $50,000-a-year job on Jan. 3, 2014, only because of her “political support and personal relationship” with Lantigua.
A jury rejected the claim after deliberating just two hours, ending a three-day trial in which Rivera's lawyer described Ortega as “the first lady of corruption” because of what he said was her own illegal scheming with Lantigua at City Hall, which he said justified her dismissal.
The lawyer, Leonard Kesten of Boston, said that the scheming began when Lantigua used his influence as a state legislator to get Ortega a secretarial job in the city's Personnel Department in 2008. He said the scheming continued throughout their tenure at City Hall, including when Ortega collected a federal heating subsidy to heat her Boxford Street apartment when Lantigua was sharing it at a time when he was earning $100,000 as mayor and she was earning $50,000 in her secretarial job.