CBC is reporting that a Quebec a construction company owner, Lino Zambito, who testified before the Charbonneau Commission about provincial and muncipal corruption in the construction industry, made illegal donations to the ADQ through that Conservative Senator Leo Housakos. Zambito also claims that Housakos asked for legal contributions to star Quebec 2008 Conservative candidate Claude Carignan, who has recently been named Conservative leader in the Senate, which he gave expecting favourable treatment in government contracts in return.
Conservative Senator Leo Housakos solicited tens of thousands of dollars' worth of questionable construction industry donations for a Quebec provincial party immediately prior to his appointment to the upper house in 2008, according to one of the star witnesses at the Quebec inquiry into municipal and provincial corruption.
Lino Zambito, a construction company owner who was one of the first to tell Quebec's Charbonneau commission about the elaborate kickback schemes set up between municipal and provincial politicians, engineers and construction bosses, now tells CBC News that he also gave money to Leo Housakos, who, Zambito says, approached him for a $30,000 political donation in the fall of 2008. ...
In the run-up to the provincial election in December 2008, the fledgling party was doing so well, said Zambito, that construction firms like his took notice and were prepared to pay to win favour.
Last week, a spokesperson for Housakos relayed to CBC News the senator's previous statement that he had never been involved in illegal fundraising. ... Since corporate donations are not allowed in Quebec, and the limit for personal donations was then set at $3,000 per contributor per party, Zambito says he had to use the illegal "prête-nom" system to come up with that kind of money. While never explicitely stated, he said he assumed Housakos knew the game.
This "prête-nom" scheme was a way for companies to conceal an illegal corporate donation through a series of much smaller, seemingly legal contributions from different people. ...
The construction boss said he came up with between $20,000 and $25,000 in cheques for the ADQ that he handed off directly to Housakos on two separate deliveries in the fall of 2008, and then reimbursed his friends and employees. He didn't make his $30,000 target, but he said Housakos was pleased with the sum.