Toronto

Vaughan mayor to face election-financing charges

Vaughan City Council voted Tuesday to lay charges against Mayor Linda Jackson after a court-ordered audit found her election campaign exceeded the $120,000 spending limit by about 10 per cent.

Vaughan Mayor Linda Jackson will face charges over her 2006 election expenses.

Vaughan City Council voted Tuesday night to proceed with having charges laid against Jackson after a court-ordered audit found her election campaign exceeded the $120,000 spending limit by about 10 per cent.

Jackson won the mayor's race in 2006, but it was an acrimonious campaign, and her win was contested by the incumbent Michael DiBiase.

A 72-page auditor's report released last week catalogues alleged campaign spending abuses, which critics say could force Jackson out of office.

The report says Jackson violated the Municipal Act in almost every aspect of raising and spending money.

It alleges the campaign:

  • Accepted more money than was allowed from some donors.
  • Accepted gifts from donors without accounting for them.
  • Spent $12,000 more than allowed.
  • Paid for newspaper ads with cash, which isn't allowed because cash can't be traced.

Jackson said Wednesday the allegations are "completely unfounded."

The council will be advised on the nature of the charges by Kingston lawyer Timothy Wilkin, who specializes in municipal law and has acted as a special prosecutor for other municipalities in election-financing cases.

The case could go to court, or Jackson could accept a plea bargain or resolution.

If a judge were to find Jackson guilty, she would face automatic removal from office.

Vaughan, population 238,866, is about 35 kilometres northwest of downtown Toronto.

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