Chabonneau Commission: Laval debating corruption allegations
Published Thursday, October 18, 2012 9:26AM EDT
Members of Laval's Executive Committee spent several hours in a closed-door meeting Wednesday night to discuss allegation of corruption.
Laval mayor Gilles Vaillancourt was among those singled out by the head of the now-defunct construction firm Infrabec as being on the take.
Lino Zambito said it was common knowledge among construction companies that Vaillancourt demanded kickbacks from municipal construction contracts.
"It was known in Laval that there was a 2.5 percent cut contractors gave to Mayor Vaillancourt through an intermediary," said Zambito in his testimony before the Charbonneau Commission.
Vaillancourt has denied those allegations, but police are investigating.
This month the permanent anti-corruption squad has conducted a series of raids in Laval against construction firms. Police have also seized documents from Laval City Hall and raided two residences belonging to the mayor.
Now the city is considering whether it should request official status at the Commission, which would permit lawyers to see documents submitted as evidence and to cross-examine witnesses.
However members of the would-be opposition party in Laval say the city should not pay to defend Vaillancourt's reputation.
"Gilles Vaillancourt should be solely responsible to pay those expenses or his party, not the taxpayers," said David De Cotis of Mouvement Lavallois.
Abdallah defending himself
Other people who have been mentioned as being corrupt at the Charbonneau Commission are defending themselves in public.
On Thursday at 10 a.m. former city of Montreal General Manager Robert Abdallah is meeting with reporters.
Zambito testified that when his company Infrabec was repairing sewer systems on Sherbrooke St., Abdallah ordered him to buy pipes he did not need from Tremca Group, or else he would lose the contract.
Abdallah resigned from his post in 2006 under a cloud of suspicion, and in 2007 a member of the Prime Minister's Office pushed to have Abdallah hired as president of the Port of Montreal.
Stephane Giroux is reporting live from the Commission on Twitter.