LONDON, Ont. - Fielding reporters’ questions about a QMI Agency report on federal cheques issued for his son’s wedding, London, Ont., Mayor Joe Fontana said Friday he didn’t want to deal with “speculation and innuendo.”
The former federal Liberal cabinet minister was at an announcement about a new $80-million Ontario jobs fund for southwestern Ontario.
Fontana, who was a federal minister during the period in question, in 2005, said he needed more time before making a formal response. He said he wanted a chance to review his own records.
“I’m not going to deal with blurry images in a newspaper. I want to see the real documentation. No one has to talked me about this particular issue in seven and a half years,” he said.
Questions are being raised - including by the Mounties - about more than $20,000 in payments on government cheques to a London social club for the wedding reception of Fontana’s son, Michael, seven years ago.
In the days before the story broke, QMI Agency repeatedly sought to question Fontana - even e-mailing him questions - but he didn’t respond.
Fontana said Friday he hadn’t been contacted by the RCMP about the story.
Later, he issued a statement on his website, saying “the recent allegations reported in the London Free Press are of concern to me.” He added: “The documentation relating to the story has not been shared with me. I have not been contacted by anyone regarding these accusations (except the London Free Press). I was not aware of any investigation.”
Londoners, he said, “should know I will get to the bottom of this and I have started to obtain and review available documentation from 2005. However, I will not respond to questions based on anonymous sources, rumours or speculation.”
The 18-year former London MP said he’s “confident a thorough and fair review will clearly demonstrate all transactions were proper and valid.”