Controversial report causing rift at city hall
Published Monday, December 17, 2012 10:54PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, December 18, 2012 12:29PM EST
A confidential city document that disappeared many years ago is about to resurface this week, and it’s causing a stir at city hall.
The damning 2004 report said Montreal taxpayers have long overpaid – up to 40 per cent more -- for public works contracts.
On the day Michael Applebaum resigned as chair of the city’s powerful executive committee, he clutched the report, claiming his executive committee wanted to cover up the overspending on municipal projects
Eight members of the former executive committee, however, put forward a sworn document saying the new mayor lied.
“We swore altogether the eight people who were members of the executive committee,” said Richard Deschamps of Union Deschamps, and part of the former executive committee in question. “The facts are different and we wanted those reports publicly in the public domain.”
Alan DeSousa, also on that committee, agreed.
“There is very clearly a disconnect between what Mr. Applebaum said on the ninth of November and what the facts bear out,” he said.
The embattled Union Montreal, which has been bleeding members since allegations of corruption have come forward at the Charbonneau inquiry into Quebec’s construction industry, accuses the interim mayor of using false information to get ahead in his bid for the city’s top job.
Applebaum is sticking to his story.
“One thing is clear: That when they deposited it at the executive committee, they made a decision not to render this information public,” he said. “It is only after I went out publicly that they decided to render the information public.”
Internal squabbles aside, what's more interesting is the report itself, and that some of those who may have seen it, turned a blind eye to it.
The mayor believes the only people who ever saw the report were high-ranking politicians at the time.
“It was given over to Frank Zampino. It was also given over to Mr. Abdallah at that time,” he said.
It’s believed the politicians did nothing with the document, and it in fact disappeared for eight years.
That’s all about to change.
The report will resurface on Wednesday, when it is presented to the city’s new executive committee.
For now, the report is in the hands of the comptroller general, who will decide what information is made public and what stays private.
The document could contain sensitive information the city could use if it decides to recuperate taxpayers’ dollars in court.