09/13/2013 03:03 EDT | Updated 11/13/2013 05:12 EST

Alleged Mafia ties sink Côté's man in Rivière-des-Prairies

Montreal mayoral hopeful Marcel Côté today accepted the resignation of Francesco Ierfino, one of his candidates in the upcoming municipal election, after alleged links to the Mafia came to light.

A city council candidate for Rivière-des-Prairies, Ierfino signed a joint plea a few years ago in support of the return to Canada of Moreno Gallo, a friend who had been expelled from the country several years earlier for prior criminal dealings.

“We decided, for him and for his family, as well as for the image we want to project, that he withdraw his candidacy,” Côté said of Ierfino.

The letter was brought to the public’s attention by a Montreal radio station this week, and in a written statement, Ierfino didn’t deny writing the letter. However, he maintains he did nothing wrong, saying the claims were ill-founded.

Côté didn’t hesitate to accept Ierfino’s resignation, acknowledging that the allegations took a personal toll on the RDP candidate and his family.

He said critics digging for dirt on candidates is part of the politics game.