CANTON – It's hard to talk about Canton without mentioning John Vineski. He's been mayor since 2010 and is well-known by many people who live in this part of Bradford County.
"Every time I see him he always gives me a hug. We kind of joke around and talk a little bit," said Siarra Gordon.
Now, as the mayor gets ready to leave office, he finds himself on the other side of the law. Vineski, 60, was arrested and charged with patronizing a prostitute. Canton police say the mayor solicited a woman on Craig's List in September and paid her $300 for a massage. Police found Vineski with a woman in early November after they were called to his home for a disturbance.
"This is a disgrace for the community. It truly is. It's a disgrace and an embarrassment," said Kevin High.
"The person in question I've known for a very long time. It is what it is. If he did it, he did it." said Eric Schrader.
As well as being mayor, Vineski is also known in Canton as Santa Claus.
"That's how I've known him my entire life," said Gordon.
For more than three decades, Vineski dressed up as Canton's Santa Claus. He was seen in parades and at parties. Police tell Newswatch 16 Vineski was not Canton's Santa this year. Vineski lost his bid for reelection this year and only has about a month left in office. Even so, some people think he should resign.
“Definitely," said High.
"Maybe one mistake shouldn't define a whole person's persona, in my opinion. We all make mistakes. We all do things that are bad, but I think there's bigger problems than that," said Schrader.
There is a Canton borough council meeting on December 12 where the situation will be addressed. Council members cannot fire the mayor since he has not been convicted of a crime. John Vineski is scheduled to appear in court next month.