Fall River Council President Asks Embattled Mayor to Step Aside
FALL RIVER — City Council President Cliff Ponte is not only asking embattled Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia to step aside, but he is also calling for a formal vote by the Council to temporarily remove him from office.
It is the second time in less than a year that Ponte asked Correia to temporarily relieve himself of the duties of mayor, and it will be the second time the council has voted on the matter as well.
In a letter dated today, Ponte referenced the most recent arrest and federal charges filed against Correia. The mayor, who already is facing a 13-charge indictment from his arrest last October related to his app company SnoOwl, was arrested again last Friday on 11 additional charges, including charges that he allegedly used his position as mayor to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from marijuana retailers looking to set up shop in Fall River.
In the letter, Ponte states that while Correia defended his decision to stay on the job after the SnoOwl charges because the alleged crimes took place before he was mayor, “the additional 11 indictments brought forth on Friday are directly related to your role as Mayor, as you have utilized the power of your position for personal monetary gain through several alleged schemes, 3 of which are outright theft of City funds,” Ponte wrote.
Ponte asks Correia in the letter to “do what is best for Fall River and temporarily step aside,” and says he will call for the City Council to vote tomorrow night whether or not the mayor is able to continue to perform the duties of his office.
A previous attempt last October to do the same failed to get the required seven votes out of nine councilors required to remove Correia from office.
“The community is expecting this City Council to take a stand and act accordingly, and it is our duty to respond,” Ponte wrote.
The City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday at 6 p.m.