FALL RIVER, Mass (WPRI) — The Fall River City Council has officially voted “no confidence” in Mayor Jasiel Correia after he was arrested in early October on federal fraud charges.
Correia, 26, is facing a federal indictment which accuses him of nine counts of wire fraud and four counts of filing false tax returns. Prosecutors claim Correia defrauded investors who contributed to the mayor’s app company SnoOwl and used their money to fund his “lavish lifestyle.”
The vote of “no confidence” passed in City Council with a vote of 8-1. Prior to the regular City Council meeting, the Finance Committee met to discuss Correia’s city vehicle, which is the same car he was arrested in on Oct. 11.
The Finance Committee said between June 3 and Oct. 24, there were 388 gallons of gas purchased, estimating around 7,000 miles traveled. This information was requested by the City Council in previous meetings about Correia’s arrest.
“This hasn’t been an easy last month for the City Council, for the city, and I know for the mayor,” City Council President Cliff Ponte said.
Majority of the conversation during the City Council meeting was whether or not the city councilors have the right to remove Correia from office. At least one city councilor said the decision for Correia’s removal from office should go to the people of Fall River.
“These meeting sometimes get a little emotional, they get a little challenging,” Ponte said in regards to the more than three hours of discussion on Correia.
After voting “no confidence,” City Council also requested Correia resign from his position as mayor with a vote of 6-3.
“It’s more of a message being sent to the mayor that eight of the nine councilors don’t have confidence in him,” Ponte said. “Six out of the nine councilors feel he should resign. That’s the view of the council, that’s where the council is at at this point.”
An affidavit calling for the recall of Correia was approved by the city’s board of elections in October with a deadline of Nov. 19. Petition supporters have until then to get 2,510 signatures from registered voters. So far, Fall River Recall has approximately 1,200 signatures.
Correia said if a recall does go through, he will run for re-election.
While Ponte hopes City Council will move on from discussing Correia, he is interested to see how the recall effort plays out.