Providence City Council President Aponte Indicted
Thursday, May 11, 2017
GoLocalProv News Team and Kate Nagle
|Council President Luis Aponte|
Aponte has been facing review both by the RI Board of Election and the Attorney General's office for campaign finance issues.
On Wednesday, Aponte plead not guilty in Superior Court to two felony charges (unlawful appropriation of campaign funds and embezzlement), and two misdemeanor counts of taking campaign funds for personal use.
He was released on $1,000 personal recognizance and faces a pre-trial hearing in June.
Latest for Council President
The Rhode Island Board of Elections voted to refer the case Aponte's campaign finance filings to the Rhode Island Attorney General in September of 2016.
The Board had reported in May that Aponte owed $47,916 in late filing fees for not submitting quarterly campaign finance reports on time. Aponte has been in the process of negotiating a settlement with the board.
Aponte was first elected to the City Council in 1998, representing Ward 10 in Lower South Providence and Washington Park.
Latest in Campaign Finance
A GoLocal investigation in 2011 found at that time twenty candidates for local and state office had racked up more than $800,000 in fines for filing campaign finances reports late—or not even filing them at all—according to a GoLocal review of state Board of Elections records.
As GoLocal reported in 2011:
The top 20 list includes former state Senator John Celona, who was sentenced to state prison in 2007 for selling his votes, as well as several prominent city councilmen in Providence.
Top politician owes more than $100,000.
Ethics Charges Pending
In addition, Aponte is facing ethics charges, as GoLocal reported in January.
The Rhode Island Ethics Commission moved forward Tuesday on the complaint filed against Providence City Council President Luis Aponte.
The complaint alleged that Aponte supported a city zoning change that benefited his landlord Keith Fernandes, the head of the Providence Apartment Association.
Aponte, who was first elected to the city's governing body representing Ward 10 in South Providence in 1998, is maintaining his innocence.
“I did not violate the ethics standard, and I look forward to vigorously defending myself in due process against this allegation.
The complaint now goes to an administrative trial.
UPDATED WEDNESDAY 11:43 p.m