The Fall River City Council on Tuesday night determined that Mayor Jasiel Correia II’s criminal indictments for fraud and extortion have left him unfit to perform his duties as the city’s chief executive, voting 8-1 to temporarily strip him of power.
– News covered by Quincy Quarry News with commentary added.
Fall River City Council votes to strip Mayor Jasiel Correia II of his mayoral powers could face legal challenge.
Following the only expected vote to temporarily remove Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II from office or open themselves to be subject to (further, ed.) scrutiny by new sheriff in town United States Attorney Andrew Lelling, Correia contemporaneously announced that he plans to challenge the 8 to 1 vote.
The only nay vote was cast by Councillor Steven Camara and whose sister is also facing charges related to those filed against Correia.
Arguments against removing Correria were cited previously by Corporation Counsel Joseph Macy shortly after Correia the first tranche of federal criminal charges were filed against him last fall. The core of Macy’s then view was that the removal clause in the city charter concerned – for example – medical issues, not situations such as an arrest and impending felony trial in federal court.
Macy specifically argued that using standard, statutory interpretation “a common sense, plain language reading of the charter would apply this clause to physical or medical disability or geographic impossibility.”
“It would not appear to apply to the current situation where a validly elected mayor has been indicted but neither convicted nor sentenced,” wrote Macy.
Even so, Macy’s previous legal opinion and arguable applicable case law notwithstanding, last night the Fall River City Council determined that Mayor Jasiel Correia II’s criminal indictments for fraud and extortion have left him unfit to perform his duties as the city’s chief executive
In particular, several councilors hammered home the message that they felt that the nature of Correia’s indictments fall under the “other cause” part of the charter’s language, saying the situation affects his ability to carry out his duties as bound by the charter.
In particular, Council President Cliff Ponte stated that Correia cannot “faithfully follow the charter” in fulfilling all his duties as the city’s executive.
For example, noted Ponte, the council could summons Correia to answer questions that Correia possibly would not be able to answer on the advice of his attorney.
Plus, Ponte added that Correia is restricted from communicating with some people involved with the case who are both indicted co-conspirators as well as local public officials – and such would surely impact detrimentally Correia’s ability to conduct the city’s business as its mayor..
Plus, one can only assume that United States Attorney Andrew Lelling could make matter moot by initiating further charges against Correia as well as concurrently seeking his remanding into custody until trial.
Needless to say, count on Quincy Quincy to continue to follow this sordid story of City Hall corruption.
Also needless to say, many in other city and town halls across the length and breath of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are not sleeping comfortably.