Roseville city councilman resigns, pleads guilty to drug possession charge

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published April 28, 2021 | Updated May 6, 2021 4:18pm

 Frontera

Frontera

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ROSEVILLE — Roseville City Councilman Charles Frontera has resigned from his office as of April 28, one week before he pleaded guilty to a drug possession charge.

Frontera, 33, submitted his intent to resign in the late hours of April 27, following the Roseville City Council meeting that took place via Zoom.

“At 9 p.m. on April 27, 2021, City Clerk Jennifer Zelmanski and I received a written letter of City Council resignation from Charles Frontera,” City Manager Scott Adkins said in an email. “The resignation is to become effective at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, April 28, 2021.”

The resignation comes after months of scrutiny into Frontera’s life after he was arrested in 2020 following a raid on his home by the Michigan State Police. He was formally charged in October with one count of possession of less than 25 grams of crack cocaine and one count of maintaining a drug house. The first charge is a felony, the second charge is a misdemeanor.

On May 5, Frontera appeared in 16th Circuit Court via Zoom and pleaded guilty to the possession charge as part of a deal with the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office to have the second charge dropped.

“Mr. Frontera, were you in the city of Roseville on Feb. 20, 2020, and even prior to that? … And during that time, did you possess the controlled substance cocaine? … And you do not have a prescription or any lawful right to have that cocaine in your possession and you knew it was cocaine?” Frontera’s attorney, Vincenzo Manzella, asked Frontera in court. Frontera answered affirmatively to each question.

The possession charge is punishable by up to four years in prison, and he is scheduled to be sentenced at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 14. Frontera could have been removed from office by the city of Roseville for a felony conviction.

“Although the City is not able to comment on the current legal matters of Mr. Frontera, we certainly wish him the best and the City will continue to focus on the important matters of City business,” Adkins wrote after Frontera’s resignation and before his plea.

Frontera was first elected to the City Council in the 2015 general election. He was reelected in November 2019 to a second four-year term. The Roseville City Council will appoint an interim council member within 30 days of Frontera’s resignation who will serve until a candidate can be elected by voters to complete what is left of Frontera’s term in the next general election in November.

“The expiration of Councilman Frontera’s term was November 13, 2023, therefore anyone wishing to fill the remainder of this term will also need to run for the position in the November 2021 election,” Adkins explained via email. “Per City Charter, the City Council has 30 days to fill the vacancy. Persons interested in applying for consideration should submit a letter of interest and resume to the City Manager’s Office, 29777 Gratiot Avenue, Roseville, Michigan 48066, by fax to (586) 445-5402 or via email at mgroffice@roseville-mi.gov by no later than 12 noon on Monday, May 10, 2021.”

Roseville Mayor Robert Taylor said the charges against Frontera were something the city had been struggling with for several months.

“It’s a black eye on the city that we don’t need,” Taylor said after the April 27 meeting but before the May 5 court hearing. “Obviously, he still has his day in court, but I only have to assume that he is either cooperating with the police or he has reached some sort of plea agreement if he is resigning. If he is resigning because he wants to move on with his life, I hope he does. If he needs to get some kind of help, I hope he gets it. I don’t know why he resigned, but I know he is due in court next week. He said he was innocent and had nothing to hide; I hope that wasn’t a lie to the people of Roseville.”

Frontera did not respond to requests for comment prior to publication. Manzella said he did not wish to make any further comment at this time.

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