Joe Fontana, the mayor of London, Ont., and a former Liberal cabinet minister, says he needs more time to respond to reports he used federal government cheques to pay for his son’s wedding in 2005.

Fontana, who was once the minister of labour under former prime minister Paul Martin, says he hasn’t been able to look through his records and doesn’t want to respond to “rumours” at this time.

“I don’t want to deal in speculation or rumours; I want to deal with the facts. I only learned of this information last night at 9 p.m., when the local press pointed it out,” Fontana told reporters in London.

“I want to be given the opportunity to look at all the information, all the documentation, do my own due diligence -- I want to deal with the facts,” he said.

“No one has ever talked to me about this particular issue in seven-and-a-half years.”

The London Free Press published a report that alleges Fontana provided a government cheque for $1,700 to pay the deposit on the wedding reception for one of his sons. At the time, Fontana was an MP and cabinet minister.

The Free Press also quotes Joe DiPietro, the former general manager of a London reception hall called the Marconi Club, as alleging that another cheque from Fontana, issued by Public Works Canada in the amount of $18,900, was used to pay off the balance.

DiPietro said it took him several months to chase down Fontana to collect the money owing.

When the NDP raised the issue in the House of Commons Friday, Conservative MP Susan Truppe said the RCMP have been asked to look into the allegations against Fontana.

Fontana issued a written statement later Friday saying, in part: “Londoners should know I will get to the bottom of this and I have started to obtain and review available documentation from 2005.”