Montreal

Montreal launches appeal to get back severance pay from ex-mayor Michael Applebaum

The City of Montreal is appealing a court ruling allowing former Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum to keep the $268,000 he received from the city after resigning from office, despite his conviction for fraud against the government.

Applebaum received money shortly after he resigned from Montreal's top job

Former mayor Michael Applebaum received his severance pay before new provincial legislation regarding payouts to politicians convicted of crimes went into effect. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

The City of Montreal is appealing a court ruling allowing former Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum to keep the $268,000 he received from the city after resigning from office, despite his conviction for fraud against the government.

Last month, Quebec Superior Court Justice Serge Gaudet ruled Applebaum is entitled to his severance because rules prohibiting payments to elected officials convicted of crimes went into effect after he resigned.

Applebaum became the city's interim mayor in 2012. He was forced to resign the following year when he was arrested on corruption charges.

In 2016 and again in 2018, the provincial law governing severance packages for municipal politicians was modified to exclude politicians convicted of certain crimes from receiving any public money when they leave office.

The city sued Applebaum to get its money back, but Gaudet said in his decision the law was not made retroactive, and therefore the city's former mayor is not required to return the money.

In an appeal dated Feb. 19, the city argued Gaudet erred in his judgment and that the law applies to cases dating back five years.

Applebaum was found guilty in January 2017 of eight corruption-related offences related to his time as borough mayor of Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, including fraud on the government and breach of trust.

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