No confidence vote taken against Council President Aponte; No plans to step down

By: Samantha Fenlon

Email: news@abc6.com

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — One hour before the Providence City Council would overwhelmingly pass a vote of "no confidence" against City Council President Luis Aponte, the 53-year-old stood before a crowd of roughly 100 supporters explaining why he has no intention of stepping down.

"Today I come here to announce to you that I intend to remain as Council President,” said Aponte. “To step down from the Council Presidency would be seen as an admission of guilt. In my heart of hearts I believe in our system of justice and I look forward to my day in court.”

The press conference comes less than a week after Aponte was indicted on several charges including embezzlement and unlawful appropriation.

Supporters showed up to his press conference in South Providence and at City Hall dressed in black t-shirts saying, "It’s a Southside thing you don’t understand."

"Communities have a right to self determination. Other power structures outside of the communities shouldn’t go in and tell a community what they should be doing,” said supporter Shannah Kurland when asked what the shirts mean.

"I’m ecstatic, he should not. He’s done amazing work for this City and he continues to do amazing work,” said another supporter Dawn Huntley.

But, it is clear that not everyone feels that way. The lack of support for the embattled Democrat was clear at the Council meeting Monday night where twelve councilors took a vote of no confidence against him.

"My thoughts are it’s an insult to the men and women who reside in the City of Providence,” said Councilor David Salvatore.

After the vote Aponte re-affirmed his decision not to step down.

"I’m not surprised,” said Aponte. “I’m a little disappointed. But, I believe that we are still a nation of laws and the constitution still prevails and I like every other citizen is entitled to the presumption of innocence."

The vote is non-binding, but symbolic.

Aponte was the only person to vote in his favor.

Councilwoman Carmen Castillo  did abstain telling us she is not God or a judge and does not agree with what happened.

The next full council meeting is this Thursday night.

©WLNE-TV / ABC6 2017