Montreal Mayor Michael Applebaum resigns, asserts innocence

Michael Applebaum, the interim mayor of Montreal, resigned amid corruption allegations.

Applebaum, 50, announced June 18 that he was stepping down after being charged with 14 counts of fraud, breach of trust and corruption.

“I maintain my innocence,” Applebaum said at City Hall in his first comments since the arrest. “I have every intention of continuing to fight like I always have, and I want to be clear: I have never taken a penny from anybody.”

Applebaum, a veteran city councillor who became Montreal’s first Jewish mayor last November, was arrested June 24 at his home by Quebec’s anti-corruption squad. He is accused of being involved in a scheme involving two real estate deals that occurred between 2006 and 2011 and “tens of thousands of dollars” in bribes, according to police.

Applebaum, whose predecessor also stepped down amid corruption allegations, was released from police custody on Monday and won’t make his first court appearance until Oct. 9.

“Being mayor of Montreal is not something that one can do while defending oneself against accusations of this nature,” he told reporters. “I’m going to put my energies into my defense and my family.”

Montreal city council condemns boycott of Israeli shoes

Montreal’s city council has condemned the boycott campaign against a local shoe store that sells footwear made in Israel.

A council motion deploring the campaign, proposed and supported by Mayor Gerard Tremblay, passed Tuesday by a vote of 38 to 16.

Those voting against the resolution said they would not support a motion denying protesters the right of free speech and expression.

The boycott of the le Marcheur store, which sells the Israeli-made Beautifeel line of women’s shoes, was launched last fall by the group Palestinian and Jewish Unity and supported by other activists as part of a worldwide boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel.

Amir Khadir, an Iranian-born member of the provincial National Assembly, joined calls for a boycott of the store in December.

Since Khadir’s appearance, federal politicians have spoken out to defend the shop’s owner. One lawmaker even bought a pair of Beautifeel shoes.

Meanwhile, members of Montreal’s Jewish community have launched a “buycott” campaign encouraging shoppers to patronize le Marcheur.