LAWRENCE, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com/AP) -- A recount of votes in the Lawrence mayoral race confirmed City Councilor Daniel Rivera's win over embattled Mayor William Lantigua.
Official results showed Rivera defeating Lantigua by 81 votes, a 23-vote increase from unofficial results released shortly after the Nov. 5 election. The men combined for a total of 15,175 votes.
A recount began Saturday at 11 a.m. in the South Lawrence East School. Just four of the votes recounted about two hours later were challenged by the candidates.
Lantigua formally filed for a recount of votes last week.
Police guarded the ballots in a City Hall vault in the days following election night.
"We were elected Mayor-elect that day and the Board of Registrars just confirmed that today," said Mayor-elect Rivera after the recount Saturday. "But the big thing here is about unity. Starting tomorrow, we have to come together as a community. We can not afford another day as a divided city. Divided by a river, divided by ethnicity. That stuff has to end."
Mayor Lantigua did not express any plans to concede Saturday.
"This is not over, so why would I be disappointed?" said Lantigua.
Lantigua's lawyer, Sal Tabit, claims there were serious procedural issues, including the handling of some 100 so-called spoiled ballots.
Attorney Lauren Goldberg, of Kopelman and Paige, was hired to run the recount and says a total 40 ballots were not counted because they we filed late or missing essential information to make them valid.
"Some of the issues that were identified November 5 we somewhat cleared tonight, but there were others that surfaced and those are things we are going to analyze overnight and sit down with the group and see where we're going," said Lantigua.
Lantigua did not say if he was going to go to court over the decision, which according to Tabit would be his only option. Rivera says he's hopeful the mayor will help the city move forward, despite what has appeared to be friction between the two city leaders.
On Sunday, Lantigua told Spanish radio station La Mega that he planned to announce what his next step would be Monday at 5:30 p.m.