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

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.