Lawsuit filed to decertify Fall River recall election

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WLNE) — One week after being recalled and re-elected on the same night, embattled Mayor Jasiel Correia gave his state of the city address. It came just hours after 10 people filed a lawsuit challenging the results that he should never have even been an option for voters once he was recalled.

 It wouldn’t be out of character for Mayor Correia to mention his win at tonight’s speech. But with this lawsuit looming over the city, he barely touched on it and wouldn’t stop to answer reporter’s questions about this latest lawsuit.

“The state of our city is strong and only getting stronger,” says Mayor Correia.

He painted a positive picture of Fall River during his annual state of the city address but there’s a new dark cloud hanging over it. A lawsuit filed by 10 taxpayers challenging the recall election results.

“Over 61% of voters actually voted to recall this mayor. Only 35% chose to have him re–elected. We don’t believe the mayor should’ve been on the second part of the ballot,” says CJ Ferry, one of the people on the lawsuit.

It seemed like the mayor wanted to put the election behind him, he barely mentioned it during his speech, only asking others to move on.

“I know 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,” says Correia.

Mayor Correia was happy to chat with people after his speech but avoided the media’s questions about the lawsuit.

Council member Shawn Cadime asked the council president to hold a special meeting so they could vote on whether or not the mayor is fit for his job. They’re holding off on that now.

“I think it’s appropriate for us to follow the 10 taxpayer lawsuit and follow that closely and then make a decision if we want to have a special meeting at that point,” says Cliff Ponte.

The lawsuit aims to decertify the election, claiming once Correia was recalled by the voters, he should never have been an option on the second part of the ballot.

“I think there’s some validity to it, I think their argument is strong. It’s really going to be up to the judge and see how his interpretation of Massachusetts general law and his review of the charter,” says council member Shawn Cadime.

If a judge decides to decertify the election it’s not clear who would step in as mayor. Because of how time sensitive this is, the ruling should be within a week or two.

© WLNE/ABC 6 2019