PROVIDENCE – The Fall River City Council voted to temporarily remove Mayor Jasiel F. Correia II Tuesday evening following the mayor’s arrest on charges of extortion.
The council had included a resolution to remove the mayor from office in an agenda filed earlier in the day. The agenda included a letter to the mayor from Council President Cliff Ponte requesting Correia’s resignation.
A letter from the city’s Corporation Council noted the council does not have the authority to permanently remove the mayor.
Councilors repeatedly noted their concern that Correia’s term extends to January. There is an election for the office of mayor in November.
One councilor voted no on the resolution to remove Correia from office.
The meeting was broadcast on Fall River Government Television.
Referring to the allegations against the mayor, Councilor Leo O. Pelletier said, “This is the worst I have ever seen in my political life.” He then went on to say, “Talk about Buddy Cianci, he was a priest compared to this guy,” adding the case reads “like a ‘Sopranos’ case.”
The mayor’s new federal charges stem from allegations that he extorted prospective recreational-marijuana dispensaries in the town, taking bribes in exchange for letters of non-opposition, among other charges.
The move from the council to remove the mayor may be challenged in court.
The council gave Correia until Friday at 5 p.m. to leave office. The council voted to remove Correia from office by means of the council’s ability to temporarily replace the mayor on grounds that the mayor was unable to perform the duties of his office – authority granted to the council by the city’s charter.
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