We have followed Providence and the controversial ordinance called the Community Safety Act (CSA) over the last few weeks and was dumbfounded when the city council came very close to passing a bill that paid a strange homage to gang members while stripping powers away from a very good and professional police department.
One of the leaders behind this anti-police ordinance, Providence City Council President Luis Aponte, was arraigned Wednesday on four charges – including embezzlement – stemming from a Rhode Island State Police investigation into his alleged misuse of campaign funds.
Appearing before Superior Court Judge Luis Matos, Aponte pleaded not guilty to two felony charges – unlawful appropriation from his campaign fund and embezzlement – and two misdemeanor counts of unlawfully using campaign funds for personal use. Aponte was indicted by a statewide grand jury.
Aponte, a Democrat, is scheduled to appear in court June 19. He was released on $1,000 personal recognizance.
Mayor Jorge Elorza, who is a supporter of the CSA, quickly issued a statement calling for Aponte to resign as president of the council.
According to WPRI, Aponte has a long history of campaign finance violations. In 2005, the Board of Elections was awarded a civil judgment against Aponte for $14,000 for delinquent campaign finance report filings. The judgment was increased to $19,700 two years later after he was found in contempt. The board said the judgment was paid in full in 2014, but as of last September Aponte still faced $47,916 in penalties for additional late filings.