Hamilton's mayor pleads guilty to fundraising violations

Larry Di Ianni must donate $4,500 to a charity and write an essay about the mistakes he made after pleading guilty to election fundraising violations.

Hamilton Mayor Larry Di Ianni has pleaded guilty to six charges of election fundraising violationsafterillegally acceptingmoney for his 2003 campaign.

An additional 35 charges againstDi Ianni were dropped.

In pleading guilty, Di Ianni agreed to donate $4,500 to charity and write an essay for a Canadian magazine about municipal issues to help others learn from his mistakes.

Di Ianni has maintained the violations were honest mistakes.

His office said some of those mistakes stemmed from failures to get companies to write their official names as recognized on their tax returns on cheques.

In July, Di Ianni returned all of the funds deemed to have come from ineligible donations.

A lawyer hired by the city to prosecute the case withdrew the 35 other charges to avoid an expensive trial and because Di Ianni had accepted responsibility.

The mayor is believed to be the first public official to be found guilty of violating the Municipal Elections Act, which regulates election fundraising in Ontario.

The judge said he was lenient because of Di Ianni's lack of intent and good community service record, the Hamilton Spectator reported.