Lino Zambito pleads guilty to corruption-related charges
Published Wednesday, May 13, 2015 11:35AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 13, 2015 7:00PM EDT
Former construction entrepreneur Lino Zambito pleaded guilty to six charges including conspiracy, fraud and intimidation in a St. Jerome courtroom Wednesday.
The charges relate to a $28-million contract to rebuild the local water filtration plant in Boisbriand.
A star witness at the Charbonneau Commission, Zambito testified at length about a system of corruption in the construction industry.
That system, he said, involved organized crime, municipal officials and kickbacks in exchange for public works contracts. It was one of those contracts that landed Zambito in court.
Zambito’s co-defendant in the case, Claude Briere, has opted to go to trial. The proceedings began Wednesday.
Zambito’s attorney Conrad Lord said his client has entered the guilty plea, but the judge postponed acceptance of the plea until Briere’s trial wraps up.
“Since there's a trial that will start today concerning another individual linked to this file the judge will postpone the acceptance of the guilty plea to another date,” said Lord.
Jean-Pascal Boucher, spokesperson for the Crown prosecutor, said the judge wants to deal with the trail before dealing with Zambito's penalty.
“At the end he will have to render a sentence against Mr. Zambito and we'll have to wait until the 29th of September,” he stated.
All parties are due back in court on that date to discuss sentencing.
Former Boisbriand mayor Sylvie St. Jean pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and breach of trust in the same case. Last year she was sentenced to community service.
When asked whether Zambito could face the same charges, Boucher said it is too early to say.
“It's too soon right now to talk about that because it will have to be proposed in front of the judge,” he said.
Lord was equally tight-lipped.
“You can draw the conclusions that you can draw. The only thing is that we have been discussing with the Crown and at this stage the sentence will be proposed to the judge at another date,” he said, adding that his client is anxious to turn the page.