NASHUA — A former Nashua alderman who has been indicted on two felony charges of witness tampering will make her first court appearance Friday for an arraignment.
In the midst of the allegations, Kathryn D. Vitale, 54, of 8 Massasoit Road, has taken a leave of absence from her position on the Nashua Zoning Board of Adjustment as an alternate member.
According to a statement from Mayor Donnalee Lozeau, Vitale made the decision to take a leave of absence on her own accord. Lozeau added that she both respects and appreciates Vitale’s decision.
A Hillsborough County Superior Court grand jury has handed up two charges of conspiracy to witness tampering against Vitale, who lost her reelection for the Ward 1 alderman seat last November.
Prior to holding her alderman position, Vitale was a member of the city’s zoning board. However, she was recently reappointed to the board as an alternate member after losing her aldermanic seat.
Gerard Reppucci, chairman of the zoning board, said he was unaware of Vitale’s leave of absence until being contacted by the media.
“I didn’t know the status of this,” he said Wednesday. “I really hadn’t given it too much thought.”
Reppucci said Vitale has attended very few zoning board meetings in the past few years, noting she was only recently reappointed to the board.
“I don’t have any comment on Kathy,” he said, declining to respond to the recent indictments against her.
This is not the first time that a member has taken a leave of absence, according to Reppucci, who explained that members have, in the past, left on a temporary basis because of health problems, personal reasons or because they were seeking candidacy for an elected position.
Vitale has not returned phone calls or emails from the New Hampshire Union Leader seeking comment on the indictments.
Police allege that Vitale, sometime between Nov. 27, 2013, and Feb. 19, conspired with Ernesto Rivera, 48, and Rene Lavoie, 52, to persuade Elvira Kersey to recant her statement in an assault case against Rivera.
The indictments, which were handed up last month, also state that Vitale allegedly contacted Lavoie, of 21 Hospital Ave., Apt. 1, Manchester, to make arrangements to bring Lavoie to Kersey’s residence so that Lavoie could tell Kersey to recant her statement, and later drove Lavoie to her residence.
Kersey is a key witness in a case against Rivera, who is currently incarcerated in connection with various weapons, assault and drug charges, according to court documents.
Rivera is accused of assaulting two women, including Kersey, during a dispute last August at a Nashua restaurant that resulted in six domestic violence assault charges.
Rivera is now facing additional charges after being indicted in March on five counts of witness tampering and two counts of criminal liability to witness tampering in connection with Vitale’s case.
Lavoie has also been indicted on two counts of conspiracy to witness tampering for the same incident, according to court documents.
If convicted, Vitale could face up to seven years in prison for each offense, as well as a $4,000 fine. Her arraignment has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at the Hillsborough County Superior Court.