An embattled Massachusetts mayor is taking a leave of absence from office and suspending his re-election campaign, according to a spokesperson.
Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia is expected to make a formal announcement Tuesday afternoon, but spokesperson George Regan said Monday night that Correia will be taking a leave of absence until his term expires on Jan. 3, 2020.
While on leave, Correia will continue to hold the title of mayor and he will still collect his $119,000 annual salary, Regan confirmed.
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The controversial mayor, who was already accused of stealing investor funds intended for his smartphone app company to bankroll a lavish lifestyle, was arrested in September on charges including conspiring to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from marijuana companies.
A recent move to temporarily remove Correia from office was denied by the Bristol County Superior Court earlier this month. Justice Raffi N. Yessayan ruled that the council wasn't given the right to remove a mayor by the city's charter.
The Fall River City Council had filed the motion after Correia's most recent arrest on federal extorion and fraud charges, voting 8-1 in favor of removing Correia from office.
Correia has maintained his innocence on both sets of charges.
Correia was scheduled to face school committtee member Paul Coogan in the Nov. 5 general election after advancing in the city's preliminary election.
City Council President Cliff Ponte will take over mayoral duties during Correia's absence until a new mayor is elected, according to Regan.