FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — As one of his first actions as acting mayor, Cliff Ponte removed Bristol County Training Consortium Director Hildegar Camara from office.
Camara – one of three co-conspirators connected to the federal case against embattled Mayor Jasiel Correia – was removed from his position, according to a letter Ponte sent to the city clerk.
In the letter, Ponte explained why Camara was removed from office: “Guilty plea and criminal conviction in Federal Court on September 19, 2019 for violating Federal Law which is a flagrant violation defined in BCTC Personal Policy 7.3.5(d) as grounds for immediate dismissal.”
Camara, 58, of Fall River, was charged in the sweeping corruption case against Correia and is facing six counts, including extortion, conspiracy and making false statements.
He has already reached a plea deal with prosecutors, which he signed Sept. 4 – two days before Correia was arrested at his home in an early morning bust. In addition, Camara recently agreed to testify against Correia at trial.
Correia appointed Camara to run the BCTC in July 2016, a job that pays $84,000 a year. He is the brother of City Councilman Joseph Camara.
Prior to his dismissal, Camara was on paid leave.
Correia announced Tuesday he would be temporarily stepping aside from his mayoral duties for the remainder of the year and will be ending his bid for re-election as he faces fraud and extortion in two separate cases.