Accurso trial approaches end with insight into political donations
Published Friday, November 10, 2017 1:16PM EST
Last Updated Friday, November 10, 2017 8:08PM EST
Tony Accurso has spent two days on the stand trying to distance himself from disgraced Laval mayor Gilles Vaillancourt.
Accurso is one of three dozen men accused of taking part in a kickback scheme to rig contracts hatched by the former mayor.
Almost everyone else pleaded guilty, except for three men who passed away, and a handful who had charges stayed because of court delays.
Among those who pleaded guilty was Giuseppe "Joseph" Molluso, president of Simard-Beaudry, and he was sentenced to two years less a day of house arrest.
Accurso testified that he confronted Molluso, who is also his cousin, about the payment of kickbacks and that Molluso admitted doing so.
Molluso still works for Simard-Beaudry.
The issue of political campaign donations also came up in court, and Accurso said he gave substantial sums of money to the PQ, the Liberals and the now-defunct ADQ.
He testified that he donated $75,000 a year to the provincial Liberals by funnelling donations through 25 of his employees, each donating a maximum contribution of $3,000.
He then gave cheques to former Liberal fundraiser Marc Bibeau.
Accurso said he would reimburse everyone for the full amount.
Called the straw-man technique, third parties are used to circumvent maximum contribution laws.
Accurso says he felt it was perfectly legal at the time, and he only stopped in 2010 when the rules, in his words, were clarified.
Accurso did not specify how much he gave to the other parties.
In court on Friday Accurso said he was not one of Vaillancourt's favourite people and said he felt the former mayor was "a very cheap person."
Accurso said most of the time he approached the mayor with a suggestion for a project in Laval, the mayor would throw roadblocks in his way and as a result he would rarely get projects approved.
He also said Vaillancourt would not pick up the tab when they went to restaurants together.
Accurso then testified that he had great financial and business success, even though he was not responsible for the day-to-day operations of his companies and didn't really know how to submit a bid for a contract.
The statements drew the ire of Justice James Brunton who wanted to know why Accurso was spending so much time outlining details of international projects.
Accurso's lawyer, Marc Labelle, said that it was all necessary to demonstrate Accurso's credibility.
The case ends on Monday.