FALL RIVER - City Councilor Jasiel Correia told WSAR news that he was called to a secret rendezvous with Mayor William Flanagan on August 14, late at night where the mayor brandished his gun and Correia felt "intimidated."
The bombshell disclosure occurred on the Newshour with Barry Richard who broke the story with a live interview with Correia.
After the meeting, Correia says he sought out Police Chief Dan Racine who told him a criminal complaint was an option but Correia has chosen not to pursue it thus far.
Correia stated that the light-night conversation ended after the mayor brandished a handgun from his car console and placed it on the dashboard in full sight of two other individuals in the car- including City Councilor Paul Dasilva.
Councilor Correai said the entire late night meeting and circumstances were "premeditated" and " an attempt to intimidate me."
Mayor denied the story and said he was disappointed with Correia's version of the story and that it would be refuted. DaSilva refused to comment on the story.
Flanagan denied ever brandishing his gun and said he was only discussing the option of Correia obtaining a firearm identification card and that Correia mistook the conversation. Flanagan said he spoke about Correia that night about being in danger because he said Correia had previously told him he was bullied into signing the recall petition.
Correia maintains he has never been intimidated by the recall petitioners.
"He did see the gun on my waistband," said the Mayor Flanagan moments later on WSAR. "He did point it out. I don't have a dashboard... At no point did I ever point the gun at him or threaten him," stated Flanagan. "He did see it. He pointed it out that I had it..."
Flanagan maintains he was only offering advice on a obtaining a gun for safety reasons.
"I told him If you were to go get your firearm identification card, I would write a letter of recommendation for you if you wanted to get it," Flanagan told WSAR.
Flanagan implied Correia has been under pressure by the petitioners.
"Councilor Correia is 23-years-old, a young city councilor," said the mayor. "He has people unduly influencing him at this time - people other than myself. I feel bad for what people are trying to put Councilor Correia through and it is not right."
Correia said a few days later he met with Council President Joseph Camara about the incident and two went to meet with Fall River Police Chief Dan Racine.
"I gave him options and one of them included filing criminal charges," said Chief Racine. "He did not want to go forward with them. I told him I was going to call the mayor and speak to him about these allegations and I did that."
The Chief said that the Mayor had a different version of events. Chief Racine said that in order for any investigation to go forward interviews of Da Silva and Gosselin would be needed but first he needs an actual criminal complaint.
"You need a complainant," said the Chief. " He has to want to go forward. he has that option still."
Correia told Richard that he was at his office painting when he got a call from the Mayor asking him to meet with him just after midnight that Thursday. Correia said he entered the mayor's car parked along Water Street and found a man in the back seat that he identified as Thomas Gosselin. Correia said he thought it odd that the man was already in the back seat and that he sat in the passenger seat. The Mayor says that Gosselin exited the passenger seat when Correia arrived.
"It was premeditated him sitting in the back seat when he pulled up," said Correia.
Correia alleged that Flanagan and he became involved in an argument where Flanagan asked him to "lie" and tell a Herald News reporter that Correia had been pressured into signing the recall petition that was in its infancy at the time. There is a recall effort underway in Fall River and when the incident allegedly occurred, rumors abounded that Correia had signed the recall effort after being pressured by the recall committee.
Councilor Correia said the car then began moving with the three men in the car discussing the recall effort and Correia's signature.
Correia said the Mayor asked him to "perjure" himself and lie about being pressured.
"I would not do it," said Correia who is out of town on business.
Correia said that he left the car, discussed the incident with his family and then notified law enforcement officials.
"I took the necessary steps to protect myself and my family," he said.
The WSAR report caused an immediate political reaction from City Councilor Ray Mitchell.
"If the incident that is described is true, I think criminal charges should be brought against our mayor and that he should resign and a prosecutor should be appointed to look into this, said Mitchell. "If he did something like this, especially asking another elected official to lie ...and then to take out a gun and put a gun into this equation.- unbelievable."