London, Ont., Mayor Joe Fontana addresses charity controversy
Joe Fontana. (QMI AGENCY FILE PHOTO)
LONDON, Ont. — Mayor Joe Fontana is urging Londoners to keep his private life separate from his civic work.
In a face-to-face interview, Fontana broke his silence about a QMI Agency exclusive detailing why the taxman yanked the charitable status of a foundation from which it says millions went into the pockets of directors, including $41,000 to Fontana.
“I think people, including myself, need to separate my private life from my life here in the city,” Fontana said.
Fontana had ignored several previous requests for comment before QMI Agency, relying on court documents, detailed why the Canada Revenue Agency revoked Trinity Global Support Foundation’s charitable status.
In the documents, the agency says $8 million raised for hungry school kids and AIDS patients instead went to Trinity directors.
Last month a federal appeals judge dismissed Trinity's bid to overturn the revenue agency's decision.
Fontana is a director with the charity, founded by his childhood best friend, Vincent Ciccone.
Fontana’s son, Ugo, is Trinity’s president.
A former Liberal MP, Fontana has also come under scrutiny in a case still before the courts related to a payment for his son’s wedding reception in 2005, when he was a cabinet minister in Paul Martin's government.
Fontana is charged with uttering a forged document, fraud under $5,000 and breach of trust by a public official. The case has yet to be tried.
While Fontana has raised his charity work during debates at City Hall, he’s clear he believes it’s now off-limits.
“I think people have to judge me on my work as mayor, alright?” he said.