‘Troubling ethical and legal lapses’: Boston City Council President calls out Lara, Arroyo

The Boston City Council President is speaking out about “troubling ethical and legal lapses” among two of his fellow city councilors, Kendra Lara and Ricardo Arroyo, who made headlines recently.

Boston City Council President Ed Flynn said Wednesday that Boston residents deserve better city leadership after police said Lara was involved in a Jamaica Plain crash while driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle on a revoked license, and Arroyo admitted to violating the state’s conflict of interest law.

“Boston residents deserve positive and responsible leadership from the Boston City Council. Troubling ethical and legal lapses continue to reflect poorly on Council members, and Boston residents deserve better,” Flynn, the son of former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn, said in a statement posted to Twitter on Wednesday.

Lara has been summonsed to West Roxbury District Court to answer charges of driving a motor vehicle after suspension, driving an unregistered motor vehicle, and driving an uninsured motor vehicle. Lara also had her child in the backseat of the vehicle but not in a booster or car seat, according to police.

It was unclear Wednesday when Lara will appear in court to face the charges.

Around 4:30 p.m. Friday, police responded to a report of a crash into a house in the area of 803 Centre St. in Jamaica Plain.

Lara’s vehicle went through the metal fence outside the home, then crashed into and drove over the bushes before colliding with the left side of the house, causing significant damage to the home, police said in their report. Boston 25 News gathered video that showed a fence in the front yard knocked down.

“Many Boston residents have contacted me regarding their concerns on the recent car crash in Jamaica Plain,” Flynn said. “First, it is fortunate that Councilor Lara and her child - as well as nearby homeowners, motorists, pedestrians or bystanders -were not seriously injured, and we wish them a speedy recovery. We thank our dedicated first responders for their professionalism in ensuring that everyone was safe and was treated appropriately for their injuries.”

“However, residents across the City of Boston are concerned about troubling details in the reports of this incident, allegedly including an unregistered vehicle, a revoked driver’s license, no auto insurance, an expired inspection sticker, and the lack of a booster seat for the child,” Flynn said.

Boston 25 reached out to Lara’s office for comment on Wednesday.

“The Councilor has no comment at this time beyond her initial press release,” a spokesperson for Lara responded.

The Jamaica Plain crash occurred in the same week that “Arroyo admitted to ethics violations and was fined $3,000 by the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission,” Flynn said.

On June 27, Arroyo admitted to violating the conflict of interest law by continuing to represent his brother in a civil lawsuit against him after he became a city official.

“Arroyo’s representation of his brother in the lawsuit involving the City of Boston while serving as a City Councilor violated the conflict of interest law’s prohibition against municipal employees, including elected officials, acting as agent or attorney for anyone other than the municipality in connection with matters in which the municipality is a party or has a direct and substantial interest,” according to the State Ethics Commission.

Flynn said the incidents involving Lara and Arroyo “and others in the past, continue to draw negative attention to the institution of the Boston City Council, and distract our city from focusing on the people’s business.” Flynn said.

“The people of Boston deserve the highest standards of strong and ethical leadership,” Flynn said. “Moreover, they want elected officials who show maturity, take responsibility as adults, and demonstrate the ability to follow the same basic rules and norms as the people they serve when placing us in positions of public trust.”

“The residents of Boston deserve leaders who respect their constituents and take their responsibilities seriously, especially during these challenging times,” Flynn said.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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