Lawsuit launched after Massachusetts mayor facing fraud re-elected after recall
A lawsuit by some voters in the Massachusetts town of Fall River has been launched challenging the results of an election which saw the mayor, Jasiel Correia, re-elected after being recalled over tax and fraud charges.
According to WPRI, the vote took place last Tuesday and saw voters choose to recall the mayor before he was elected back into office by the same electorate.
Two questions were on the ballot, the first about whether to recall him and the second asked voters who they wanted as mayor instead. This allowed voters to re-elect Correia if they chose to do so.
Results saw 61 per cent voted to recall the 27-year-old, but he then received 35 per cent of the vote about who should fill the mayoral spot. A school committee member in the community, Paul Coogan, obtained 34 per cent.
This past Tuesday, 10 people who voted to recall him filed a lawsuit seeking to block certification of the results, according to the Boston Globe,
At a State of the City address, Correia acknowledged not everyone was pleased with the results.
“I know we have not always gotten along, and I know that some of you are not happy with the recent developments, but for the good of the city and adhering to your oath, please put differences aside to get even more great things done for the citizens of our great city,” he said.
The lawsuit alleges that the ballot used violated the city charter and Correia should not have been allowed to run for re-election.
“The people spoke, and they wanted him recalled for various reasons,” said Erik Tolley, the lead plaintiff. “We want to make sure the letter of the law was followed. We don’t believe it was followed by having him in two places on the ballot.”
The recall was originally prompted by Correia’s arrest in October, as he faces more than a dozen counts of wire fraud and filing false tax returns.
He is alleged to have misused US$231,000 of the $363,000 he accepted from seven investors into an app company he founded in 2012, before attempting to conceal the scheme by filing false tax returns, the Boston Globe reported.
A status conference on his case is scheduled for April.
Correia has denied all allegations and pleaded not guilty.
He also repeatedly refused to resign even after a vote of “no confidence” from the city council, which prompted the recall.
Following his re-election, he celebrated at a pub and said he hopes to re-earn their trust in the future.
“We’re going to keep trying to earn people’s votes, earn their trust, earn their votes by doing good things for our community like you’ve seen us do,” he told reporters last Tuesday.
Despite his re-election, however, Correia will need to seek re-election again this fall when the city holds its mayoral primary in September and the general election in November.
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