The RCMP announced today Joe Fontana, the Mayor of London, Ontario, has been charged with three Criminal Code offences. All charges spring from an investigation of a federal cheque used to pay the deposit on his son Michael's wedding reception in 2005.
The charges of breach of trust by a public officer, fraud and uttering forged documents were filed against Fontana Wednesday after a lengthy RCMP investigation which was possibly triggered by a story published in The London Free Press about five weeks ago. The local paper had obtained a copy of the stub of a $1,700 cheque issued by Public Works Canada which appeared to have been used to pay the possibly delinquent bill.
Journalist Chip Martin broke the story revealing the invoice number of the cheque stub matched the number on a Marconi Club of London invoice issued about six months earlier. The paper reported the former club manager recalled the details surrounding the reception payment well as he had to pursue Fontana for months before receiving payment.
At the time of the alleged offences, Fontana was a Liberal member of Parliament for London North Centre and federal minister of labour and housing. He was elected mayor of the Southwest Ontario city near the end of 2010.
Fontana faces growing opposition to his continuing on as an active mayor. Several council members are planning to bring a motion before the finance and administration committee Monday requesting that the mayor step aside while the case is decided.
Fontana is scheduled to appear at the London Provincial Court House on January 08, 2013. The mayor's lawyer, Gordon Cudmore, will speak to the media Thursday at 1 p.m.
Two of the charges faced by Fontana carry the threat of a possible prison term of up to ten years.