City Council members in Fall River, Massachusetts, debated the future of the city's embattled mayor at a special meeting Tuesday night.
"This council didn't and isn't putting our city in turmoil," said Council Vice President Pam Laliberte-Lebeau. "Jasiel Correia did that."
Several on council indicated they would vote in favor of removing the mayor from office temporarily, arguing he can't focus on his legal troubles and run the city at the same time.
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"The mayor's indictment brings his character and ability to lead into question," said Council President Cliff Ponte. "Currently, there is a three-ring circus being performed in our city right now, and the mayor, unfortunately, is the ringmaster."
Correia was indicted last week on fraud and tax charges, accused of stealing more than $230,000 from investors while developing an app called SnoOwl.
The mayor said Tuesday that the allegations are 100 percent false.
"In no way did I scheme, did I plan, did I plot to take investors' money without the intention and the deliverable of an app on the app store," said Correia, who says SnoOwl made it to the Apple app store.
But prosecutors say he neglected the company while spending the money to live a lavish lifestyle.
"From day one, this investigation was politically motivated by my opponents," said Correia.
Council members have received various legal opinions as to whether they even have the power to remove the mayor.
And it looks like some aren't ready to take that step, fearing costly legal action, in part.
"I'd rather see that money spent on people, on streets, on sidewalks," said Steven Camara, a council member. "Rather than a bunch of lawyers going to court."
Council members say they will take a vote next week on removing the mayor from office.
In the meantime, a local resident announced she is starting a recall effort against Correia, which may be the only way to remove him from office legally, according to city attorneys.