Vaughan city council has voted unanimously to go ahead with laying charges against Mayor Linda Jackson on campaign finance irregularities — which, if upheld by a judge, could lead to her dismissal from office.
The decision to “institute the laying of charges against Jackson” was announced yesterday afternoon after a four-hour closed-door meeting — absent Jackson — following legal advice from Timothy Wilkin, a well-known Kingston lawyer and expert in municipal law.
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It’s been a little more than a year since the beleaguered Jackson issued a strongly worded statement saying that allegations she had violated campaign spending limits on the way to her bitterly contested mayoral victory in 2006 were “completely unfounded and without merit.”
If a judge were to find Jackson guilty of violating campaign spending limits under the Municipal Elections Act, she would face automatic removal from office.
Yesterday, Jackson arrived in council chambers shortly after the announcement and read a brief statement.
“Had I been aware, would I have condoned any of the practices that come to light in the audit?” Jackson said, acknowledging for the first time that the breaches uncovered in a recent auditor’s report had occurred. “Absolutely not.”
Yesterday’s move followed a court-ordered audit that found Jackson’s campaign had exceeded her $120,419 election spending limit by about 10 per cent.