Imagine another version of Pete Buttigieg.
Jasiel F. Correia II had all the makings of a rising Democratic star.
While still an undergraduate at Providence College, he was appointed to a seat on the city council in his hometown of Fall River, Massachusetts, in 2013, and began attending meetings in between his political science classes. Fall River had been abandoned long ago by textile manufacturers, leaving behind empty mills and crumbling smokestacks that most people speed by on their way to Cape Cod. Highlighting his own experience as the founder of a tech start-up, Correia made the case that he could convince young people to relocate to the city and start businesses there. At 23, he beat out a better-funded incumbent to become the city’s youngest-ever mayor.
Then, early Thursday morning, Correia was arrested by federal agents on charges that he stole almost a quarter of a million dollars from seven people who had invested in his start-up, and spent the money on adult entertainment, airfare, a dating service, designer clothes, hotels, jewelry, trips to casinos, and a Mercedes-Benz. Hours later, he pleaded not guilty to 13 counts of wire and tax fraud.
Now there’s more.
Jasiel Correia II, the already embattled mayor of Fall River, Massachusetts, was arrested Friday on new federal extortion charges for allegedly operating a scheme to help marijuana vendors get approval to operate in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes.
Prosecutors say Correia agreed to sign non-opposition letters in return for significant six-figure payments from four marijuana vendors looking to open businesses in the city of nearly 90,000 about an hour’s drive south of Boston
The Democrat mayor also is accused of extorting $3,900 in cash and a $7,500-to-$12,000 “Batman” Rolex watch from a property owner in exchange for activating the water supply to his building. In addition, federal prosecutors say Correia demanded his chief of staff give him half of her $78,700 salary in return for appointing her and allowing her to keep her city job.
He’s a Democrat. He has a pulse. So he’ll keep getting reelected.
Despite his legal troubles, Correia survived an effort to oust him from office in March. In an unusual twist, he was recalled by voters, but elected the same night by finishing first among five candidates vying to fill the mayoral vacancy. He is running for his third term in November.
Hope, Change, Dope.