London mayor to discuss criminal charges today
Joe Fontana reacts to election results coming in that show Fontana is in a virtual dead-heat with incumbent Anne Marie DeCicco-Best in the municipal election in London, Ontario, on Monday, Oct. 25, 2010. (The Canadian Press/Dave Chidley)
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, November 22, 2012 5:56AM EST
LONDON, Ont. -- A southwestern Ontario mayor facing criminal charges in a fraud investigation is expected to speak publicly today about his political future.
London Mayor Joe Fontana was charged Wednesday with fraud under $5,000, breach of trust by a public official and uttering forged documents.
The RCMP says the charges are over alleged inappropriate use of funds when he was a federal Liberal cabinet minister.
The London Free Press has reported that two Government of Canada cheques were given to a London club to cover the cost of the wedding reception for Fontana's son in 2005.
Fontana's lawyer, Gord Cudmore, has scheduled a news conference for today for the mayor at 1 p.m.
Fontana has previously denied the allegations.
In a letter posted on his website on Tuesday, Fontana did not directly address the allegations but said he would not let them interfere with his job as mayor.
"Make no mistake, I treat the allegations that have been levied as serious, but I have not and will not allow them to be a distraction from my duties and obligations of my office," Fontana wrote.
"I will not stand aside or leave my responsibilities as mayor," wrote Fontana.
A motion was to be tabled at the city's finance committee on Monday calling on Fontana to temporarily step aside as mayor pending the outcome of the RCMP investigation.