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Charges for mayor’s husband looming

Council has given the go ahead to special prosecutor Timothy Wilkin to pursue charges against Mario Campese, Mayor Linda Jackson’s husband and 2006 campaign manager.

Wilkin had asked the city to broaden his existing authority to pursue charges against the mayor for apparent contraventions of the Municipal Elections Act stemming from the 2006 election, which were uncovered in a court-ordered audit of Jackson’s campaign books.

“We recommend that when charges are laid against Linda Jackson for alleged offences under the Municipal Elections Act related to her campaign finances, charges should also be laid against Mario Campese arising out of his conduct as her campaign manager,” Wilkin wrote to the city’s solicitor in a letter dated March 26.

Campese allegedly accepted contributions from ineligible donors and cash contributions of more than $25, the maximum allowed under the elections act, Wilkin wrote.

If found guilty, each offence carries a fine of up to $5,000.

Campese declined to comment Tuesday.

Under council’s decision, Wilkin now has the authority to summon witnesses, enter a plea bargain with Campese and determine what penalties to seek from the court upon a conviction.

“We’ve agreed to allow (Wilkin) the option of bringing charges if he feels it’s appropriate,” Councillor Alan Shefman said Tuesday. “We have trust in our legal counsel and we’ve simply provided him with the opportunity to consider the matter.”

Regional Councillor Gino Rosati opposed the move to lay charges against Campese, he said in a written statement released Monday.

“(This) is in my opinion inappropriate, unnecessary and not in the best interest of the City of Vaughan and its citizens,” he said. “It is my understanding that the candidate is ultimately responsible and accountable under the Municipal Elections Act.”

Wilkin has yet to lay charges against either Jackson or Campese.

Vaughan Today
In print: April 10, 2009, page 4
Online: April 11, 2009 [link]