Fall River City Council demands embattled mayor's resignation

Mayor Jasiel Correia tells reporters and supporters that he is innocent of charges contained in a 13-count federal indictment, at a news conference at Fall River Government Center, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. (WJAR)

The Fall River City Council is demanding embattled Mayor Jasiel Correia step down.

The council on Tuesday voted unanimously to send him a letter notifying him of the news.

Correia will be officially notified from the city Wednesday that he needs to step down. He’ll have until December 26 to do so.

Some city council members said the decision was a long time coming.

“The mayor has put this city in a very tough situation,” Council President Cliff Ponte told NBC 10 News.

Last week, the city’s Board of Elections certified roughly 4,500 signatures to recall the mayor, who was charged with 13 federal fraud counts.

Federal prosecutors claim Correia spent more than $230,000 of investors' money in his company on his own "lavish" lifestyle before he was mayor.

After the council formally notifies Correia that enough signatures have been received, the mayor will have five days to resign.

Ahead of the vote, a lawyer representing Correia served the council a five-page document, stating the council had no right to take action.

Even so, councilors sealed the deal.

“Obviously, the city council lives and dies by their own measures we decided to do what we decided to do and the city councilor appeared unphased by the pivot from the mayor,” Ponte said.

Correia, who’s stated numerous times he won’t step down, has filed an objection claiming that some of the names on the signature certification aren’t valid. That’s something some Correia supporters agree with.

“I have a nephew who called me because he knows I’m very politically involved with the city that stated that his name and address we’re on the paper and he didn’t even sign the petition,” Maria Rego, a Fall River resident, said.

But Ponte, who would temporarily take over as mayor if Correia steps down, said there were over 6,000 signature’s sent in.

“Four-thousand of them were certified they need 2,510 signatures to have a recall,” he said.

The special recall election would most likely be scheduled at the next city council meeting in January.

Correia was not in attendance at the meeting.

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