Michael Applebaum, Montreal’s beleaguered interim mayor, has resigned, saying he needs to focus on defending himself against corruption charges.
Applebaum was arrested by members of Quebec’s anti-corruption squad, UPAC, yesterday and charged with 14 criminal counts of fraud, corruption and bribery.
The charges are related to two real estate projects in the Cote-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grace borough developed between 2006 and 2011, while Applebaum was mayor of the borough. An ongoing investigation has uncovered tens of thousands of dollars in bribes paid as part of deals to build a sports center and a condo project, the Globe and Mail reported.
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Applebaum denied that he was guilty at a news conference Tuesday afternoon. "I want to be clear that I have never taken a penny from anybody," he said. "I would like to tell Montrealers that I love them, that I understand their frustration, their deception and cynicism with the political climate of the last few years."
Applebaum replaced Mayor Gérald Tremblay in Nov. 2012, when allegations of corruption forced Tremblay to resign.
Montreal must now find another interim mayor to keep the seat warm until the Nov. 3 municipal election.
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