FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — Locked in a legal battle with the Fall River City Council over whether he can continue in office, embattled Mayor Jasiel Correia has decided to postpone his annual fundraiser at Battleship Cove.
Correia announced the postponement of the “Summer Bash with Mayor Correia” in a post Wednesday on the event’s Facebook page. Though he didn’t give an exact reason as to why he was postponing the event, he wrote, “Sometimes it takes a little to regroup and ensure a success!”
“Let’s stay positive and win on Tuesday and again in November,” Correia added, referencing next week’s preliminary election for mayor.
Tickets to the fundraiser were $125, which the event page said “includes open bar and passed hors d’oeuvres.” It also said, “Tickets must be purchased in advance. Please send a private message if you would like tickets.”
The mayor’s postponement message did not say when the event would be rescheduled.
Correia, 27, was arrested last week 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.
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.
The vote came one week before Correia is set to face two opponents – Paul Coogan and Erica Scott-Pacheco – in the preliminary mayoral election. The top two candidates will move on to the general election Nov. 5.
State campaign finance records show Correia was lagging Coogan in fundraising as of Aug. 31. Coogan had almost $24,000 in his account at the end of last month, while Correia had $17,000 and Scott-Pacheco had $4,500.
City Council President Cliff Ponte has asked Correia to step down by Friday at 5 p.m. At that point, Ponte would take over Correia’s duties as acting mayor.
Correia has repeatedly refused to resign, arguing he is fully capable of completing his mayoral duties and the City Council does not have the authority to remove him. Both Correia and the City Council have sought legal counsel – meaning the vote’s legality could play out in court.
This is not the first time Correia has been federally charged.
Last year, Correia was arrested on federal fraud charges connected to his startup SnoOwl, which is now defunct. His trial on those charges had been scheduled to start in February prior to his latest indictment.
Eli Sherman and Kim Kalunian contributed to this report.