Man who went to governor's home claims they're friends

Lane Forman at Lawrence Supreme Court.

SWAMPSCOTT — It remains unclear how a man with what a judge called "an extensive sealed record" — that includes at least 14 violent offenses — managed to get past Gov. Charlie Baker's security detail and walk into the governor's Swampscott home last week. 

Lane Forman, 59, is now undergoing a court-ordered competency evaluation, following his arrest on charges of breaking and entering in the daytime with intent to commit a misdemeanor — an arrest that occurred two days later, at the Danvers senior housing complex where he's lived since 2016 due to his designation as disabled. 

Residents of that community are also expressing concern about the fact that Forman was allowed to move into the Tapley Manor housing on Holten Street in Danvers, where 87% of the residents are seniors, despite past allegations. 

The incident last Wednesday afternoon on Monument Avenue occurred while the home was being guarded by a trooper. 

Just after 2:30 p.m., according to a police report, Forman pulled into the governor's driveway in what turned out to be a rented black Hyundai Tucson with Florida plates, which investigators later learned was due back to Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Salem that day. 

Police also learned that Forman typically drives a white Cadillac DeVille. 

Sgt. Nathan Thomas saw Forman walk to the side door and motioned to a uniformed detail officer to indicate that someone had pulled into the driveway. 

"Forman is known to this unit through previous contact over the years," police said. 

Thomas walked up as Forman was leaving and asked Forman what he was doing there. 

"Don't (expletive) with me," Forman allegedly replied. "Charlie told me to drop this off." "Forman continued to back out of the driveway and leave the area," troopers wrote. 

State police have declined to comment. 

During his arraignment Friday, Forman denied swearing at the trooper, and claimed that he'd been given permission to drop things off at the governor's house. 

"This is just a misunderstanding," Forman told Judge Cesar Archilla, according to audio of the court proceeding. 

Police and prosecutors don't share that view. A day after Forman was at the home, police confirmed that the Tucson had still not been returned. 

A probation warrant was issued Thursday afternoon, charging that Forman was in violation of his probation in a Boston Municipal Court criminal harassment and annoying calls case, and police also sought a new warrant for Forman on the breaking and entering charge. He was arrested Friday morning at his home. 

"Everybody's safe," Baker said in a press conference Wednesday afternoon when asked about the incident. "That's the only thing that really matters and that's all I'm going to say about it." 

Forman, in his court appearance before Archilla, claimed that he knows the governor and that he'd been to the home previously. The materials he left for the governor apparently had to do with his mother, Marsha, who died last year. Forman told the judge that the nursing home where she spent her final years had neglected a urinary tract infection. 

After asking permission to sit during the proceeding — "I have a spinal cord injury" — Forman went on to claim he attended New England School of Law and with that legal background would represent himself. 

Forman was later appointed an attorney as "standby" counsel. 

Despite the judge's suggestion he say nothing, Forman continued to speak during the hearing. "Could I also add one other thing to make this plain and simple? I slid an envelope under the door ... I've been to his house before."

He also took issue with a request from prosecutors to unseal his record. "When the state seals something, they seal it for a reason," Forman told the judge. "When a person had problems years ago and his record is sealed it should stay sealed."

Forman insisted that the Boston case was also a misunderstanding resulting from an argument he had with Joseph Lawless, former head of security at Logan Airport. It was one of several names he dropped during the hearing, where he also mentioned that he knows retired Lynn District Court Judge Albert Conlon.

"I'm totally and permanently disabled," Forman told the judge. "I'm on oxycodone and Lyrica and I have a letter from a doctor saying I can't be incarcerated because of the medicine I am on." 

Forman also claimed that he was given a handicapped-accessible apartment after he sent a card to former President Barack Obama, who, he says, called Baker, who then gave him the apartment.

"Governor Baker got me that apartment because President Obama called him," Forman insisted. He also claimed that he had refereed A.J. Baker's basketball games, and was nonplussed when Archilla told him the governor's son played football.

Forman also claimed that his "feelings are hurt because Charlie does know me personally."

Though most of Forman's criminal record has been sealed — apparently at around the same time he was seeking admission to public housing — police disclosed in their request for a warrant that Forman's record stretches back to 1986 and includes approximately 14 entries for violent offenses, as well as threatening, stalking and harassing behavior. 

He also has a history of missing court dates. 

Forman has also run into conflicts that led to civil lawsuits and other proceedings. He has been a plaintiff — famously in the late 1990s when he unsuccessfully sued the son of baseball legend Ted Williams claiming he was owed proceeds from a sports marketing deal, and more recently when he claimed Marblehead police had violated his civil rights while performing well-being checks on his elderly mother, a case that was dismissed. 

He was also sued in 2011 by the Las Vegas Hilton over an $85,000 gambling debt he paid with checks drawn on the National Grand Bank that were rejected; his attorney at the time claimed he had been induced into racking up the debt by being plied with alcohol that may have been spiked with something else, according to court papers. After he was ordered to pay the hotel, he filed for bankruptcy in 2013, court records show. He also filed for bankruptcy in 2019. 

Danvers police have responded to dozens of calls at Tapley Manor but say they cannot confirm or release which calls specifically pertained to Forman. 

Typically, a record of violence would bar someone from living in public housing. 

Danvers Housing Authority director Cynthia Dunn was asked whether her agency was aware of his history when Forman moved in. 

"Have you seen his record?" she asked a reporter, saying she was not made aware of his history prior to his arrival and that Forman was given an apartment on an "emergency" basis after being discharged from a nursing home with nowhere to go. 

"When he arrived he was permanently in a wheelchair," said Dunn, who acknowledged that no longer appears to be the case. 

Dunn also acknowledged complaints from other residents about Forman's behavior toward them — but said Forman has also lodged complaints claiming his civil rights were being violated by other tenants for things like not letting him ride the elevator. 

She said the agency has installed surveillance cameras in response to some of those concerns, but acknowledged that evicting Forman from the property will come down to whether he is found guilty. 

His bail was set at $5,000, with conditions that include a GPS monitor that will alert authorities if he goes near the governor, his family, or Baker's home on Monument Avenue. 

A judge also ordered that Forman undergo a mental health evaluation for competency. 

Forman insisted he did not need one, telling the judge, "I'm fine." 

A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Nov. 4.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis. 

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