Borough mayors wanted kickbacks, too: Charbonneau witness
A growing number of city officials, including borough mayors, are under a serious cloud of suspicion at the Charbonneau Commission, as the head of a Montreal engineering firm testified he distributed tens of thousands of dollars in order to secure contracts.
Michel Lalonde started Monday off by repeating an allegation that former city manager Robert Abdallah was getting financial kickbacks from suppliers.
Lalonde inquired about prices for sewer pipes from a company called Tremca.
He said this is what he was told:
“I'm good with the $300,000 and, secondly, I have to speak to Mr. Abdallah. We have to take care of him,” he said.
Last fall, Abdallah denied the claim when it was raised in testimony by contractor Lino Zambito.
Lalonde named more people, as well. He said he used to give 3 per cent of each contract he earned back to Gerald Tremblay's party, Union Montreal.
So enough, he said, borough politicians wanted cash too:
- Lalonde said he gave $60,000 to former Riviere-des-Prairies-Pointe-aux-Trembles mayor Cosmo Maciocia at his request.
- When Maciocia left politics, his successor, Joe Magri, also received $15 000.
- Lalonde testified that the borough of Ahunstic-Cartierville also sought payoffs and Canadiens season tickets as the price of doing business in the borough.
- In Saint-Leonard, former Liberal MNA and borough mayor Michel Bissonnet apparently asked and received $2000.
- In Montreal East, Mayor Yvon Labrosse received $5000 in illegal contributions, Lalonde claimed.
- In Montreal North, Lalonde said he sent $2000 to Mayor Gilles Deguire, a former police man.
- He also said he gave $1000 to Ile Bizard Mayor Richard Bélanger.
Lalonde said cash-hungry Union Montreal fundraisers still wanted more, however, so Lalonde was forced to give $20,000 to the cash-strapped 2005 World Aquatics Championships in exchange for contracts.
Lalonde's payoffs extended well beyond Gerald Tremblay's Union Montreal, however, and beginning in 2008, he started paying attention to the opposition, held by Vision Montreal.
Lalonde claims he was approached by a Vision Montreal fundraiser in 2008, and eventually gave $25 000 cash to Benoit Labonté, who at the time was running with Louise Harel.