11/26/2012 05:48 EST | Updated 01/26/2013 05:12 EST

Joe Fontana Scandal: London, Ont. Committee Presses Mayor To Step Down

LONDON, Ont. - A London, Ont., council committee has passed a motion requesting Mayor Joe Fontana to leave office while he faces fraud charges.

The city's finance and administrative services committee voted 3-1 Monday in favour of the motion calling for Fontana to step down, though it cannot force him to do so under the Municipal Act.

RCMP charged Fontana last week with fraud under $5,000, breach of trust by a public official and uttering forged documents, in connection with allegations he inappropriately used federal government funds while a member of Parliament, to help pay for his son's wedding reception.

Fontana, a former federal cabinet minister, has denied any wrongdoing. He is to appear in court on Jan. 8.

Passage of the motion Monday means the issue will move ahead to full council, where it will be debated Dec. 11.

Fontana declared a conflict of interest at Monday's committee meeting and did not vote on the motion.

(AM980, The Canadian Press)