MONTREAL – Montreal’s mayor says he is not in league with the Mafia and does not fear them.
Michael Applebaum has been the subject of rumours and allegations in the last few days — with the latest involving his visit to a restaurant for a fundraiser a decade ago.
The Montreal restaurant was frequented by members of Montreal’s Mafia.
Applebaum told a news conference on Tuesday he is a man of integrity and transparency who has nothing to hide.
“I am not afraid of the Mafia, I don’t hang out with the Mafia and I do not know the Mafia,” Applebaum said.
“They are not friends of mine.”
Applebaum said the 2003 fundraiser was perfectly legal and was organized by the Union Montreal party at a time when he was simply a city councillor responding to a party request to attend.
The event was held at La Cantina, an Italian restaurant in Montreal. A prominent member of the Mob was shot and killed outside the restaurant in 2009.
The mayor insisted there was nothing scandalous about his visit to the eatery.
He said he has never given or received kickbacks or been involved in any cases of preferential treatment.
It was the second time in less than a week that Applebaum convened journalists to address allegations.
Last Friday, he called an end-of-day news conference to address reports he was being investigated by Quebec’s corruption inquiry and its anti-corruption police squad. It came on the same day that Applebaum announced the creation of a Montreal-specific anti-corruption unit comprised of city police investigators.
Applebaum repeated Tuesday he was not being investigated and insisted he is not being targeted.
“In my role as an elected official, the Charbonneau Commission decided to meet with me … we discussed many, many dossiers,” Applebaum said.
“If they want to invite me, it’s a pleasure to meet with them and I will shed light on any dossiers they may have and will respond to their questions.”