Frank Zampino, former city councillor and president of the Montreal executive committee, has confirmed in writing that he spent time on the yacht of Antonio (Tony) Accurso while the businessman was trying to secure a $355-million contract for the installation and management of city water meters.

Zampino said he vacationed twice on Accurso's yacht in 2007 while he was the top-ranking councillor in the Tremblay administration.

The two-page letter was made public late Thursday by Mayor G�rald Tremblay.

Tremblay said his former right-hand man did not "make the best decision" when he opted to take boating trips with Accurso, who happens to be one of Zampino's longtime friends.

But the mayor insisted he had no doubt the process that ultimately awarded the largest contract in the city's history to the G�nieau consortium was carried out fairly.

Accurso's firm, Simard-Beaudry Inc., belonged to the G�nieau consortium.

The contract was part of a modernization plan for the city's water management system, launched by the Tremblay administration in 2002.

G�nieau was to install 30, 000 water meters across the island of Montreal

Zampino's background

Frank Zampino decided to leave city hall for good last July, after more than two decades in municipal politics.

He became a councillor in the former city of Saint-L�onard in 1986, and was elected mayor four years later.

Zampino also served as the president of the Montreal Transit Corporation (formerly known as the STCUM) from 1998 to 2000.

After municipal mergers, Zampino went on to become borough mayor of Saint-L�onard.

He served as a city councillor under the Tremblay administration from 2001 to 2008.

With files from The Canadian Press