Complaints against two mayoral candidates are proceeding to formal audits of their campaign finances, a committee decided Thursday.
The first compliance audit in the history of municipal elections in London was conducted by a three-member committee after complaints about Paul Cheng and Paul Paolatto were filed, alleging they began campaigning prior to the official campaign period.
The start date for campaigning was May 1, 2018.
Lincoln McCardle filed a pair of complaints - one against runner-up Paolatto and one against fourth-place finisher Cheng.
Alan McQuillan filed a complaint against Cheng.
McCardle asked if Cheng exceeded the $25,000 candidate contribution limit after he admitted to CTV News that he paid off a $20,000 campaign deficit in addition to making the maximum personal donation.
“I have nothing to hide and have admitted in the past that I unintentionally spent more of my personal funds than permitted on my campaign,” Cheng said at the hearing.
He said he overspent, expecting more donations would flow into his campaign. But donations dried up in the final days of his campaign.
McQuillan told the committee that there is no ambiguity in the rules contained in the Municipal Elections Act.
Cheng was shown copies of social media posts and screen grabs of his website prior to the campaign period that were included in McCardle’s complaint.
Cheng said volunteers handled the online portion of his campaign.
Paolatto and Cheng will be able to choose an auditor to conduct their formal audits from a list provided by the city clerk that will be finalized May 3.
If it’s believed there is a violation of the Municipal Elections Act, auditors will report back to the committee to decide if it the allegations should proceed to court.
The penalties could include loss of the ability to run in next election, a fine up to $25,000 or up to six months in jail.