London, Ont., mayor facing criminal charges to speak today about his future

Associated Press

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.

(AM980, The Canadian Press)

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