Michael Applebaum, First Jewish Mayor of Montreal, Resigns Under Fire

Vows To Fight Corruption Charges

getty images

By Reuters

Published June 18, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Michael Applebaum, the first Jewish mayor of Montreal, resigned on Tuesday, a day after he was charged with fraud and corruption in the latest major Canadian municipal scandal.

“I am going to put my energies into my defense and into my family,” said Applebaum, who had promised to clean up Canada’s second-largest city when he was named to the post in November.

Declaring his innocence, he added in a statement to reporters: “This is why I am resigning as mayor of Montreal - it is the responsible thing to do.”

His departure will do little to help the reputation of Quebec, where a two-year public inquiry led by Judge France Charbonneau is unearthing almost daily allegations of contract rigging, kickbacks and fraud going back many years.

Harout Chitilian, speaker of Montreal’s city council, said corruption did not occur overnight.

“It’s a systemic issue, and we realize from the Charbonneau inquiry that, over the past two decades, perhaps even the past three decades, the system was infiltrated by dark forces,” he told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Applebaum, a former real estate agent, was appointed after predecessor Gérald Tremblay stepped down amid allegations he had ignored corruption and illegal spending by his political party. Tremblay also denies wrongdoing.

Montreal, a city of 1.7 million, must find another interim mayor ahead of a municipal election due on November 3.

Further west, in the province of Ontario, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is resisting calls to quit as leader of Canada’s largest city after two media outlets said they viewed a video that appeared to show him smoking crack cocaine.

Ford says he does not use crack cocaine, and Reuters has not been able to verify the existence of the video.

Applebaum faces 14 charges linked to two real estate deals from 2006 to 2011, when he was mayor in Montreal’s Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough.

He is charged with fraud, breach of trust, conspiracy, municipal corruption and secret payments involving tens of thousands of dollars. Police have not said who they suspect handed over the money.

“I have never taken a penny from anybody … the accusations against me are unfounded,” Applebaum said.

Michael Nadeau, executive manager of the Institute for Governance of Public and Private Organizations, said the city could struggle to find a qualified interim mayor.

“This is quite a challenge right now, to attract experienced and competent candidates,” he told CBC.

The mayor of Laval, a Montreal suburb, resigned in 2012, but denied allegations of corruption. Gilles Vaillancourt was arrested last month and charged with gangsterism, fraud and corruption. Laval has since been placed under trusteeship.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.