Michael Applebaum, who stepped down as Montreal mayor last month under the weight of multiple corruption-related charges, has received an exit package of nearly $268,000.
The City of Montreal says the ex-mayor is entitled to more than $108,200 in severance and $159,700 in transition pay, bringing the total to more than a quarter of a million dollars.
The payout brought calls at city hall to amend the rules for politicians who quit before their terms are up.
“[Mr. Applebaum] will be able to keep the sum even if he’s found guilty of the criminal charges against him,” Louise Harel, majority leader in Montreal, said in a statement. “This situation increases citizens’ cynicism and has to be corrected.”
Mr. Applebaum resigned in June after Quebec’s anti-corruption police arrested him at his home and laid 14 criminal charges, including fraud, breach of trust, conspiracy and municipal corruption. The charges relate to two real-estate deals when Mr. Applebaum was mayor of a west-end Montreal borough.
Mr. Applebaum vowed to clear his name and declared he had “never taken a penny from anybody.”
The city defended the severance package, saying the payments are prescribed by provincial law, and being charged with a crime does not preclude receiving the cash.
“Nothing in the law allows the city to withhold payment of these allowances,” said Gonzalo Nunez, a city hall spokesman. “The law applies regardless of the reason for ending one’s term.”
Mr. Applebaum was first elected as a city councillor in 1994, and served for seven months as interim mayor before being forced out. Mr. Applebaum was chosen to replace Gérald Tremblay, who also quit amid disclosures of corruption on his watch.
Jonathan Abecassis, Mr. Applebaum’s former spokesman, noted that taxes will eat up “at least half” of the package. The payout is based on 18 years in public office.
Mr. Applebaum is spending time with his family and working on his defence, Mr. Abecassis said. His first court appearance is scheduled for October.
Ms. Harel, leader of the Vision Montréal party, will ask city council to amend the rules so that municipal elected officials who quit before the end of their term cannot get a transition allowance unless they leave for reasons such as illness.