Disgraced ex-mayor Michael Applebaum must pay back severance, city lawyers argue
MONTREAL -- Former Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum is back in court Wednesday to face a civil suit.
The City of Montreal is pursuing the 56-year-old to recover $267,923 in severance and transition grants given to Applebaum a few days after his arrest in June 2013.
“I’m very healthy. I’m doing fine, I’m very happy with my private life,” Applebaum told reporters at the courthouse.
In 2017, Applebaum was sentenced to one year in prison and two years of probation for his role in the extortion of $60,000 worth of bribes from real estate developers during the four years he served as Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce mayor.
He briefly served as Montreal mayor from November 2012 until he resigned June 2013 when he was charged with fraud, conspiracy, breach of trust and corruption.
In 2017, he was found guilty of eight of the 14 charges against him, but was granted parole two months into his sentence.
Lawyer for the City of Montreal read documents from Applebaum’s swearing-in ceremony as mayor, where he said he would exercise his functions with honesty, in the best interest of taxpayers and n full respect of public interest.
They argue his arrest, a few days after the start of the Charbonneau Commission, created shockwaves throughout the city and encouraged suspicion towards elected officials.
They claim recent municipal laws insist that an elected official convicted of a crime "punishable by two years of imprisonment," such as in his case, must forfeit their severance allowances.
Applebaum's lawyer disputed that any law required his client to repay his severance pay.
"My client's positon is that the law should not be applied retroactively because there's no indication whatsoever that the law should apply retroactively and the general rule is that laws apply after their adoption," she said.