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Aponte resigns from position as Providence city council president

Embattled Providence City Council President Luis Aponte has resigned from his leadership position just nine days after he was indicted on embezzlement and misuse of campaign finances charges. (WJAR)

Embattled Providence City Council President Luis Aponte has resigned from his leadership position just nine days after he was indicted on embezzlement and misuse of campaign finances charges.

Aponte made the announcement late Friday afternoon, noting that he plans to retain his seat as Ward 10 councilman.

“After much deliberation, I have determined that it is in the best interest of my constituents, colleagues, and city to formally submit my resignation as Providence City Council President,” Aponte said in a statement. “Serving the people of Providence is one of the greatest honors of my lifetime, and I remain committed to representing my constituents in my capacity as Councilman. While it has been a privilege to serve my colleagues as Council President, I believe this is the appropriate time to step down from my leadership position and focus on the best opportunities to serve the needs of my community.”

The news comes the same week that Aponte claimed he had no plans to step down even though the rest of the council called on him to resign on a 12-1 non-confidence vote during a specially scheduled meeting on Monday.

"It’s a tough time right now. It’s budget season. Now, we got this going on,” Councilman Nicholas Narducci, who represents Ward 4, previously told NBC 10 News. “We got to continue to work together as a group, stay strong and work with the mayor and pass a good budget, and try to put all this behind us.”

Mayor Jorge Elora asked Aponte to resign on May 10, describing Aponte's actions as "deeply disappointing."

Following Aponte's resignation, Elorza issued a statement praising the city council.

“I give credit to the council members who took a stand and pressured Aponte to resign," Elorza noted. "I'm confident we can get to work and continue moving our city forward.”

Aponte’s indictment came about a week after Kevin Jackson was recalled from the Providence City Council by an overwhelming majority. The recall efforts started after Jackson was indicted on pending charges that he misused his campaign funds and embezzled money.

Now, Aponte faces similar charges.

"I think it puts a total black eye on all of us,” said Narducci, who also said he plans to run for the council president position. “I think at this point in time what we need to do as a city council is stick together and make sure the right things are done.”

Still, Aponte said that he wants to continue to serve his constituents as a council member, just no longer as council president.

“In recent weeks, I have been fortunate to receive an outpouring of support from my constituents,” he said.” At this time, I’d like to offer my deepest gratitude for all their well-wishes and support throughout this process.”

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