Former DJL estimator details system of collusion
Published Friday, April 11, 2014 10:50AM EDT
A construction company employee has shined more light on collusion, as Nicolas Hains explained how his former company instructed him to only seek bids from the Mivela construction company, a firm that long maintained a virtual monopoly on certain paving contracts handed out by the City of Montreal.
Former DJL engineer Hains, who was in charge of getting estimates, told the Charbonneau Commission Friday of how he was discouraged by his own company from seeking bids for sidewalk paving subcontract work from any company other than Mivela.
Hains explained that when he contacted competitor CSF to get another estimate, his boss Jacques Collins admonished him for looking beyond Mivela, a company so well known by DJL that one employee had a photo of its boss Nicolo Milioto in his office.
Hains' attempt to get a better price on the work proved futile anyway, as CSF returned an estimate that was exactly the same price as Mivela, which Hains believed to be a case of obvious collusion.
"I realized that something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” Hains said, quoting Hamlet.
Hains said that Collins told him, "We don't tell you everything beacuse we are protecting you. The less you know the better."
Hains said others in the company used his name to give political contributions to Montreal political parties between 2003 and 2005.
The scheme was used to skirt campaign contribution limits and many others in the company were also pressured into participating.
“They insisted firmly but subtly,” said Hains. “That’s how I went along with it, unfortunately.” He said that he was later reimbursed in cash.
Hains eventually left the company and resisted an invitation to return, made during a lunch at the Monkland Tavern.
Unlike DJL boss Marcel Roireau, who testified yesterday, Hains spoke freely and responded without delay to all questions asked of him at the inquiry.
The commission wrapped up for the week at 11 a.m.