UPAC raids Laval's political party soon after dissolution vote
Published Tuesday, November 20, 2012 8:29AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 21, 2012 9:49AM EST
As another series of raids took place in Laval Tuesday, Laval city council is in the midst of a campaign to choose an interim mayor.
On Tuesday, the provincial anti-corruption unit conducted yet another series of raids, this time on the offices of the Parti PRO des Lavallois and its lawyer Jean Bertrand, and the offices of the former mayor.
Throughout October, UPAC conducted raids on City Hall, and the homes of then-mayor Gilles Vaillancourt, who was later implicated at the construction inquiry.
Witnesses at the Charbonneau Commission into corruption in the construction industry have accused Vaillancourt of demanding kickbacks from all construction contracts in Laval for years, although he has yet to be charged.
Vaillancourt resigned on Nov. 9 after taking a few weeks off for "health reasons."
This week, council will decide between Alexandre Duplessis and Jacques Saint-Jean.
Both candidates are, like every councillor in Laval, former members of the now defunct Party PRO des Lavallois-Equipe Vaillancourt.
The governing board of the political party voted on Monday to dissolve the political framework and give one of its lawyers a bonus.
This week Laval city council has to choose an interim mayor to replace Gilles Vaillancourt.
Opposition parties say they are furious over the two candidates for the position because both Duplessis and Saint-Jean refused to speak to media once news of the most recent raids broke.
“They don't respect the citizens,” said Robert Bordeleau, the leader of the would-be opposition Parti au Service du Citoyen. “They show themselves only when it's election time.”
Another opposition group, the Mouvement Lavallois, presented documents from a land deal in 2008, where they claim city land valued at more than $1 million was sold to a land developer for $463,000.
It was then re-sold eight months later for more than $1.6 million.
The deal was approved by City Hall after being proposed by mayoral hopeful Alexandre Duplessis.
“This is like a house that has a foundation cracked all over the place,” said Emilio Migliozzi
Party money to return to city coffers
There has not been any opposition in Laval city hall since 2001, so it remains to be seen what effect the dissolution of the party and decision by 20 councillors to sit as independents will have.
One thing is for sure: with the dissolution of the party, any funds remaining in its accounts will be given to the city of Laval.
“I'm told there will be around $1 million of surplus that will be sent to city coffers,” said deputy mayor Basile Angelopoulos.
The provincial government has also announced it will appoint a special auditor general to oversee the awarding of all contracts in Laval.