Members of the Fall River City Council voted Wednesday to take legal action against the city’s embattled incumbent Mayor Jasiel Correia, after Correia rejected their earlier efforts to oust him from his position.
“The council voted tonight to proceed with litigation to enforce its Sept. 10, 2019 emergency order,” the city council’s attorney, Lauren Goldberg, told reporters at Fall River City Hall Wednesday, “and we'll have more for you as more develops.”
Goldberg, who facilitated a private meeting with the council Wednesday evening, did not confirm or deny if an injunction, or formal restraining order, would be filed, or when the council planned to take legal action.
Earlier this month, eight of the nine city councilors voted for an emergency order to oust Correia, arguing that he is “unable to serve” as mayor while facing multiple federal charges, including tax fraud, defrauding investors in an app he created, and most recently, alleged extortion of marijuana companies hoping to do business in Fall River.
Correia has largely ignored the order, and has returned to work throughout the week. He says the city council doesn’t have the authority to oust him, arguing that the city’s charter only gives councilors that authority if a mayor is unable to serve due to physical illness or geographic impossibility.
Correia won second place out of three candidates in a preliminary election for mayor on Tuesday, which means he’ll be moving forward to face off against school board member Paul Coogan in the general election on Nov. 5. At an election event on Tuesday, Correia told reporters he would respond if city council members moved forward with legal action.
“If they take me to court, then I will bring my lawyer to the court and we'll see what the judge decides,” Correia told reporters at his election night gathering Tuesday. “I don't believe that eight people can override the voters of an election."