Mayor Applebaum arrested and charged with corruption
Published Tuesday, June 18, 2013 7:56AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 4, 2013 1:06PM EDT
Montreal Mayor Michael Applebaum is expected to speak to the public on Tuesday afternoon, more than 24 hours after his sudden arrest on corruption and conspiracy charges.
The chair of Montreal's Executive Committee, Laurent Blanchard, confirmed that Applebaum is working on a statement with a lawyer. Blanchard also said the city of Montreal will not be paying for Applebaum's legal representation in court.
"I think he knows that he's not able to continue in what we live for the moment, but that's his decision. I cannot talk for him," said Blanchard.
The province's permanent anti-corruption squad, UPAC, spent ten hours interrogating Applebaum on Monday before he was charged with 14 crimes connected to estate deals that took place between 2006 and 2011, when he was Mayor of the Cote des Neiges/Notre Dame de Grace borough.
Many people throughout Quebec's political sphere, including Premier Pauline Marois, have demanded Applebaum resign following the accusations.
Police also arrested former Montreal councillor Saulie Zajdel and a top bureaucrat, former director of permits Jean-Yves Bisson.
Arrest warrants filed in court identify several people who allegedly conspired in a fraud plot with Applebaum. They are Hugo Tremblay, Robert Stein, Anthony Keeler, Rosaire Sauriol, Claude Asselin and Patrice Laporte.
None has been arrested so far in connection with this crime, but Asselin and Sauriol were arrested and charged last month as part of a UPAC corruption sweep in Laval that also saw former Laval Mayor Gilles Vaillancourt accused of gangsterism.
Sauriol, Asselin and Laporte were all senior executives with engineering consultation firm Dessau during the period of the allegations filed in the court documents.
UPAC has not specified which parcels of real estate are responsible for the charges, but there have been several large deals in the borough in recent years that have come under scrutiny, with UPAC chief Robert Lafreniere saying their investigation made significant headway in March 2013.
At that time the squad questioned Robert Rousseau, a senior bureaucrat within the CDN-NDG borough's permits division. He committed suicide soon after the interrogation, and there are reports that he left behind detailed notes about suspicious activity.
Some of the projects believed to be under investigation include the Benny Farm sporting complex, the Decarie Triangle development near Namur metro, a condo project on Upper Lachine Rd. at Wilson Ave., another condo project on Troie Ave. near the University of Montreal, and a seniors' housing complex on Cote St. Luc Rd. near Decarie Blvd.
Lafreniere said Monday that tens of thousands of dollars in bribes were paid to ensure zoning changes for at least two of those developments.
Applebaum was released from custody on Monday afternoon and is free until a court appearance, which will likely take place in October.