MONTREAL — Michael Applebaum resigned as interim mayor of Montreal on June 18, while maintaining he is not guilty of the series of criminal charges laid against him the day before.
“I maintain my innocence, but I have every intention of continuing to fight, like I always have and I have never taken a penny from anyone,” he said at a news conference.
Applebaum, 50, a city councillor for 19 years, was voted in by council as interim mayor in November after the resignation of Mayor Gérald Tremblay amid damning testimony at the Charbonneau commission into corruption.
Applebaum, the city’s first Jewish mayor and the first anglophone in a century, had vowed to clean up city hall. Formerly chair of the city’s executive, he also promised not to run for the mayoralty in this November’s election.
Applebaum is facing 14 counts, including fraud, corruption, breach of trust and conspiracy related to real estate deals during his term as Côte des Neiges-Notre Dame de Grâce borough mayor from 2006-2011.
Also arrested by Quebec’s anti-corruption police squad, UPAC, at his home early in the morning was former longtime city councillor Saulie Zajdel. He was charged with five offences, including fraud, corruption and breach of trust.
Zajdel was a member of the executive of former mayor Pierre Bourque and represented Côte des Neiges-Notre Dame de Grâce after the municipal mergers. He left municipal politics in 2009 after 23 years.
Zajdel was the Conservative candidate in Mount Royal riding in the 2011 federal election, losing to incumbent, Liberal Irwin Cotler.
He later worked as an adviser in Quebec to federal cabinet ministers Christian Paradis and James Moore, before resigning last year amid allegations by Cotler that he was acting like a “shadow MP” in Mount Royal, undermining his ability to carry out his duties.
Since leaving municipal politics, Zajdel had served as director of the Jewish Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation.
The third person arrested on June 17 was Jean-Yves Bisson, the Côte des Neiges-Notre Dame de Grâce borough’s former director of permits.
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