Downtown restaurant Cavalli firebombed
Published Tuesday, May 27, 2014 7:39AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, May 27, 2014 10:02PM EDT
Police are looking for an arsonist who tried to burn down a resto-bar on Peel St. overnight.
Around 3:30 a.m. a Molotov cocktail was placed at the front door of Cavalli restaurant.
It did very little damage and may have sputtered out before firefighters even arrived.
No one was injured.
“Rapidly the fire was controlled by the firefighters on site, which caused minor damage to the establishment,” said Montreal police spokesperson Pierre Brabant.
However, the restaurant in question, once known for its high-end food, luxurious décor and jet-setting crowd, has been under the watchful eye of police for some time.
The liquor board yanked the restaurant's alcohol licence for 100 days in January, saying Cavalli had become a hotspot for known gangsters.
In recent months whistleblower Ken Pereira told the Charbonneau corruption inquiry that Jocelyn Dupuis, the former head of the FTQ-Construction, was a regular at the restaurant, spending $30,000 per month on food and drinks.
Many high-profile organized crime figures also patronized the restaurant over the years, including the late Mafia godfather Vito Rizzuto. Members of biker gangs and street gangs were also known to have dinner there.
Police have been investigating the establishment since 2006 saying it is the scene of multiple fights and noise complaints in addition to being a preferred spot for known criminal elements. Reports of gunshots, theft and an absence of cooperation from staff were all also concerns.
Brabant said investigators will also question the owners of the building and the restaurant to determine if they had been threatened.
Cavalli was renovating while it did not have its licence, and is still in the midst of extensive work. The owners had planned to re-open on June 2, in time for the Grand Prix which takes place on June 6,7, and 8.
Its owners were not available for comment.