In previously blocked testimony, Zambito reveals how firms fixed small town elections
Published Thursday, November 8, 2012 11:57PM EST
Last Updated Friday, November 9, 2012 8:55AM EST
MONTREAL—With the partial lifting of a publication ban at the Charbonneau Commission on Thursday night, more testimony from when construction magnate Lino Zambito took to the stand a few weeks ago can be reported.
While Zambito was a small player in Montreal, in his hometown of Boisbriand he was a major mover and shaker—literally.
In previously protected testimony, Zambito explained to Quebec’s anti-corruption inquiry that when his company moved to Boisbriand from Laval, he figured he may as well secure sewer and water main work around his new headquarters.
However, the charismatic businessman soon set his eyes on a major $28 million contract to rebuild the local water-filtration plant. But to get that contract, he had to make sure the right person won the election.
He summarized the process this way: legal firms and engineering companies backed by contractors would join their efforts before a municipal election was called. They would run a campaign with illegal funds, and then picked the person they thought would benefit them best as mayor.
Zambito stopped short of calling local mayoral candidates clueless nobodies.
According to the contractor, engineers and lawyers felt they knew better how to run a city than democratically-elected leaders. Once in power of course, the same firms ensured they secured all legal and engineering work, in what was effectively a complete hijacking of the democratic process.
According to Zambito, this process was very common on the north shore and the lower Laurentians. Zambito even named names, and said law firm Dunton-Rainville teamed up with engineering firm Dessau to run St-Jerome.
According to the contractor, firms literally divide-up the map.