Union executives cozied up to Hells Angels
Published Wednesday, October 2, 2013 1:22PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 3, 2013 8:57AM EDT
The accusations against high-ranking union leaders kept on coming at the Charbonneau Commission, Wednesday.
Former FTQ-Construction executive Ken Pereira recalled how organized crime was able to seep into a union-- which represents over 70,000 Quebec construction workers – during his third consecutive day testifying on the stand.
According to him, FTQ construction’s former head, Jocelyn Dupuis should be recognized as one of the key culprits. Pereira said Dupuis had surrounded himself by Hells Angels, which intimidated members during meetings.
“It was understood that bikers were lurking around on the first floor,” he said.
“[Dupuis] liked to show that his family was the FTQ, but that he had another one."
Pereira stole six months of receipts, which forced Dupuis to resign from his post after he was exposed to having a habit of outrageous expense account spending – and was later charged with fraud by the Quebec police. He is currently awaiting trial.
Pereira said union brass repeatedly ignored his warnings that ranks had been infiltrated by organized crime via its construction sector.
He said that when the leadership of his own division of the union ignored him, he went to the head of the Quebec Federation of Labour, the umbrella group which encompasses about 200,000 workers including those of the FTQ-construction.
Pereira said that his complaints about false expense reports and ties to biker gangs were not only ignored by president Michel Arsenault -- but that Arsenault insinuated that Pereira had ties to mobsters.
“He put his feet on his desk and said, “What do you want us to do, if you’re caught up in drugs?’” recalled Pereira.
Pereira said he did meet with high-level Italian Mafioso Raynald Desjardins and some other mobsters, but only to find out how they were making the union executives pick and choose which members got to work on which sites.
Pereira said he confided his concerns to Henri Masse, a former-FTQ president that left his post in 2007.
“"(I told him) Jocelyn Dupuis can't be hanging out with the Hells,” Pereira said.
Masse reportedly pressured Pereira to remain mum, and drop his fight against Dupuis.
Police began to notice Pereira’s crusade, and convince him to become an informant after advising him that his life was in danger.
Despite his accusatory testimony, Pereira himself is not scot-free of questionable acquaintances, which include controversial contractor Tony Accurso.
Pereira was aware that Accurso was in with FTQ and its controversial leaders. But, he explained that Accurso was able to offer him with a solution, finding him work in Alberta’s oild sands -- far from the FTQ.
Pereira is expected to return to testify at the commission on Thursday.
--with files from the Canadian Press