Fall River City Council VP calls for investigation into former employee’s spending

Fall River City Council Vice President Linda Pereira wants answers after learning the now former substance abuse grant coordinator Michael Aguiar made some lavish purchases with grant money during a conference in New York last year.

"I found money that was quite frankly squandered. A hotel stay at the Ritz Carlton, an 8–passenger vehicle that was rented,” said Pereira.

Pereira says that SUV came with a $1000 price-tag. She also points to room service charges.

"It’s unconscionable that anybody could do this," said Pereira.

Aguiar resigned after Pereira brought the spending to light during a city council meeting.

A paper trail reveals the former coordinator received a $6,578 payout for unused sick and vacation time, all paid for using that same grant money.

"The numbers on the top indicate that this money came from the grant. So, I found that a bit peculiar,” said Pereira.

Mayor Jasiel Correia issuing a statement reading in part, "While the expenditures were approved by the state and not by the City of Fall River, I cannot support what I  believe to be excessive expenses by a city employee. Going forward, I will institute controls to ensure that nothing like this happens again."

Pereira says she wants a full investigation.

"People have a right to know the full story they have a right to know the answers. And, that’s why I’m saying you know was this just squandering or are these acceptable uses of grant money? We need to know that,” said Pereira.

(C) WLNE 2017