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27 charges for former mayor

Charges include overspending

VAUGHAN – Former mayor Michael DiBiase faces 27 charges stemming from an audit into his 2006 municipal election campaign books.

The audit by Ken Froese and Glen Davison uncovered several apparent contraventions of the Municipal Elections Act in DiBiase’s campaign records, including overspending his $120,419 campaign limit by $2,712 and accepting ineligible contributions.

In June, council chose to commence legal proceedings against the former mayor and once again called on outside lawyer Timothy Wilkin to act as the city’s special prosecutor. Wilkin has laid similar elections act charges against Councillor Bernie DiVona and Mayor Linda Jackson, who beat DiBiase by 90 votes in 2006.

“Mr. Wilkin is simply following the same practice that he’s used both in Vaughan but also in Hamilton and in Ottawa,” DiBiase’s lawyer Eric Gillespie said Wednesday. “The fact that formal proceedings are commenced doesn’t really indicate anything one way or the other.”

Council gave Wilkin the discretion and authority to not only pursue charges but to also reach an agreement with DiBiase. Discussions between DiBiase’s camp and Wilkin are ongoing, Gillespie said.

“It’s certainly possible that some or potentially even all of the matters could be resolved prior to any actual hearings having to take place,” Gillespie said.

If convicted, DiBiase could face up to $5,000 in fines for each offence and may be barred from running in the next municipal election.

Vaughan Today
In print: September 18, 2009, page 3
Online: September 18, 2009 [link]