Mayor Applebaum refutes new allegations
Published Tuesday, January 15, 2013 1:26PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 15, 2013 8:25PM EST
MONTREAL - Mayor Michael Applebaum said he's not for sale.
The interim Montreal mayor held a press conference Tuesday morning to denounce reports that he had past dealings with suspected members of the local underworld, adding that he's never accepted a penny in bribes.
"I have never given any favours to anybody, or received any funds. I have never gone on any boat trips," he said.
Applebaum was responding to a report that he conducted a fundraising event in 2003 at La Cantina restaurant, owned by a Federico Del Peschio, who had ties to the Rizzuto clan.
“When I went to this fundraising event, I was not a member of the executive committee and all the rules were respected,” he said.
"I had no understanding that it was a mafia hangout," he said of the restaurant.
Applebaum was also asked about a controversial condo development built at Upper Lachine Rd. and Wilson Rd. in Notre-Dame-de-Grace during his tenure as borough mayor for the district.
Developer Tony Magi, who is alleged to have Mafia ties, received funding to get the project built.
"It was a project that was managed by the housing department downtown. It was not a project that was managed in the borough," said Applebaum.
Magi was charged with a weapons offence in 2010 and had survived a shooting on Cavendish Blvd. in 2008.
“I do know Mr. Magi," said Applebaum. "The first time I saw Mr. Magi was in a public meeting where he wanted to demolish a Dairy Queen and build a project at Sherbrooke and Westhill. I opposed the project.”
Applebaum said that he had not seen Magi since 2008.
“I am an honest person, with integrity and I have nothing to apologize for. You cannot buy me,” he said to the crowd of reporters assembled at City Hall.
Magi would not speak to CTV Montreal when asked for an interview Tuesday.
Executive committee member Mary Deros said she believes Applebaum and said no one can control the reputation of every person they come into contact with.
"It's very difficult unless you have someone who will stand by your ear and say, 'Not this person.' It's very difficult to control that," she said.
Projet Montreal leader Richard Bergeron said he also supports Applebaum, but is starting to worry.
"I accept what Mr. Applebaum said this morning but it has to stop. It has to stop," he said.