FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — With embattled Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia’s refusal to leave office, the City Council has decided to take legal action against him.
City Council President Cliff Ponte said Friday he has scheduled an emergency meeting for next week to meet with their attorney to discuss what happens next.
“While I would most certainly prefer to avoid the turmoil that such an action would create for our city, the decision is yours to make,” Ponte wrote in a letter to Correia. “Please, respect your promises to the people of Fall River.”
Ponte said as far as he’s concerned, he is now the acting mayor of the city.
Earlier this week, the Fall River City Council voted 8-1 to temporarily remove Correia from office, saying he can no longer perform his mayoral duties.
Correia is refusing to resign and asserts that he’ll continue to serve the city. He also maintains the City Council doesn’t have the authority to remove him from office.
Correia, 27, was arrested earlier this month for the second time in less than a year. He is accused of extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars from marijuana vendors and has denied all of the charges against him.
Lawyers for Correia met with a federal judge Friday morning at U.S. District Court in Boston for a bail review hearing. Correia wasn’t present for the hearing.
Correia is currently free on $25,000 bond and has pleaded not guilty to the federal extortion charges. He is also facing federal fraud charges related to money he accepted from investors for a mobile app startup.
Correia’s lawyer, Kevin Reddington, spoke to reporters outside District Court in Boston after the hearing, saying he continues to maintain his innocence.
“He’s entitled to a trial. Looking forward to a trial,” Reddington said. “He’s done a great job for the City of Fall River. He’s a strong individual. You have to admire him, he gets up every morning and does his job.”