London Mayor Joe Fontana's charity loses fight against taxman

Share Adjust Comment Print

LONDON, Ont. — A charity tied to Mayor Joe Fontana has lost a court fight to hang onto its charitable registration.

A federal appeals judge Tuesday dismissed a bid by Trinity Global Support Foundation to overturn the yanking of its charitable status by the national revenue minister.

Trinity’s lawyer, Duane Milot, told Justice David Near last week such a move would leave kids going hungry and put the charity out of business within nine months.

But Milot also warned he’d take the case to the Supreme Court of Canada if he lost.

Trinity, founded in 2007 by Vince Ciccone, a boyhood chum of Fontana, raised $72,000 in 2008, it reported. In its last fiscal year, it said it issued $152 million in tax receipts to donors.

The organization said it donated pharmaceuticals to the Caribbean to combat AIDS, contributed to food banks across Canada, gave educational “courseware” to the underprivileged and fed thousands of school kids through lunch and snack programs.

Fontana joined the Trinity board in 2008 and stepped down as chairman late last year, but he remains a director. At issue for the Canada Revenue Agency was the value Trinity put on the gifts, for which it then issued tax receipts.

Milot complained the tax agency was acting in bad faith and showing bias by lifting its status.

"They don’t like my client," he said.

In a statement released late Tuesday, the foundation said it was weighing its options and considering an appeal.