Charbonneau Commission - corruption, criminals, and politicians

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Hahahaha, *sob*:

[url= Zampino suing city of Montreal for legal fees[/url]


Frank Zampino, the former chair of Montreal’s executive committee, is suing the city to pay his legal fees.

Zampino resigned from his post under a cloud and is now facing charges of fraud.

He was also named this week at the Charbonneau Commission where a witness alleged he accepted cash payments and a $250,000 kitchen renovation from contractors who do business with the city.

In his motion to Quebec Superior Court, filed Tuesday, Zampino refers to a law which states that if a city councillor or member of executive committee is accused of criminal charges while exercising his duties, the city or town must cover legal fees.

So (possibly) crooks enact laws to make people pay to defend crooks against charges that they are crooks. I love it! Next step will be to enact laws providing that theft is good. Wait a minute - isn't that the fundamental law of capitalism?



Breaking news (speak of the devil):

[url=érald Tremblay taking a few days off[/url]

A [i]Journal de Montréal[/i] poll says only 10% believe Tremblay's protestations of innocence, while 87% do not.

The head of the police "brotherhood" has just called on Tremblay to go.

Time to roll out the red carpet for Denis Coderre...

Plus ça change...


Red as in Liberal, not red as in even vaguely socialist or progressive.

My district is Projet Montréal, but it will be hard to win the mayorship. Bergeron has been giving good, precise sound bites, but alas he really isn't very charismatic and sadly that counts. But then, I don't personally think Coderre is very charismatic either.


lagatta wrote:
Red as in Liberal, not red as in even vaguely socialist or progressive. My district is Projet Montréal, but it will be hard to win the mayorship. Bergeron has been giving good, precise sound bites, but alas he really isn't very charismatic and sadly that counts. But then, I don't personally think Coderre is very charismatic either.

The situation in Montreal is rather disheartening...

I used to like Louise Harel... but since her transfer to municipal politics, I've soured quite a bit on her. And Vision Montréal, despite its name, is still a hodge-podge group that has absolutely no articulated vision for the city.

I like many of Projet Montréal's proposals, and its vigor in pushing for better collective transit solutions is much needed, but Richard Bergeron irks me majorly. He was terrible, just to cite one occurrence, during the student strike, adopting very reactionary positions.

Let's not even talk about Coderre...


I generally support Projet Montréal, but they need a more consistent (and less flakey) spokesperson than Richard Bergeron. I have a hard time forgetting his praise of smoking as being good for his health and helping him run the marathon.


Who does he think he is Guy Lafleur or maybe Stan the Man.


Mikita for Mayor!!


Well, I've certainly voted PM, but I agree with Unionist and Bärlüer, sometimes Bergeron goes beyond nerdy engineer to be oddly reactionary. I thought the smoking stuff was almost tongue in cheek, but he seemed oddly out of touch with the student movement - and the people who voted PM in in the Plateau and Petite-Patrie and were in the streets banging "casseroles".

I'm having a good online dialogue with my PM city council member (François Limoges) as we struggle to push through the projected bicycle path on my street and meet with the usual boneheaded resistance from "local merchants" (who afterwards will use the path and its bicycles as tourist advertising, natch).

Torontonians will remember such "local merchants" opposing the much-needed St. Clare streetcar!

I do think Projet Montréal could do with another spokesperson. Bergeron has great ideas about public transport and I agree with him about the need to push through some tramlines - in particular lines parallel to the oversaturated orange line of the métro - since the extension to Laval, it is impossible to get a seat or scarcely to get in the door from Jean-Talon into downtown during rush hour. But he is frankly too odd, and not consistently progressive.

Harel is not the evil person anglo media makes her out to be, and progressive in some social respects, but she his absolutely dim about environmental questions.


As a PQ MNA, Harel was a great supporter of workers, especially when the industrial base of the east end was being wiped out. I wish she spoke better English - she does too, and she has been improving. It's easier to demonize someone when you can't communicate with each other.


Yes, she was very leftwing in the PQ, and most active in support of Vickers and Angus railway yard workers. Certainly remember that. I'd most certainly never demonize her because I don't think she understands how important it is to oppose a "big-dig" (Décarie east) in the East End. She is just a bit out of touch with modern ecosocialist thinking.

Her English is not bad at all - I listened to her in English on CBC Radio-Noon today. I know her husband quite well from Palestine solidarity stuff.

I just HATE the way anglo media depicts her.

(and a superficial aside - she is a role model for all of us gals who have decided either to stop colouring our hair or never doing it in the first place. I let mine go grey - actually very silvery with black undertones - because some women like her showed it could be possible without looking senile or mumsy. This is hard for women with hair as dark as mine was. Alien being in the mirror and all that).

love is free love is free's picture

harel is the architect of the municipal amalgamations that appended dozens of reactionary suburban communities to montreal, something i'd like to see undone.  if it were a two party system, i'd vote for her over tremblay, but there's no need when we've bergeron.


Now we have a "sex" angle more explicit than Lino's romantic gift of roses. One of the engineers, Gilles Vézina, admitted that he was offered escort services as well as the usual bottles of fine wine, restaurant meals and hockey tickets.

Vézina refused, he said, because he was a newlywed at the time, and also said that unlike the usual presents, "prostitutes" were not an acceptable gift.

He said he was unaware whether any of his colleagues had accepted such a gratification.

As the remains of gunned-down Mafia don Giuseppe Di Maulo lie for three days of viewing in an east-end Montréal funeral home with underground parking, so mourners can arrive and leave discreetly, The Di Maulo family has occupied the entire funeral complex, which has room for seven different funeral ceremonies.

See that the funeral is NOT at the church near my place in old Little Italy, but at Notre-Dame-du-Mont-Carmel, in St-Léonard (farther east)


More on wines, fancy restaurant meals, offers of escorts etc in a story from CBC Mtl:

Since the escort offers happened "early in his career", that means this has been going on for decades.


Not just escorts but a love-nest to "party" with them in, in an apartment building with a swimming pool in the St-Mathieu area (west end of downtown Mtl):


I'm becoming a little hooked on the live proceedings on RDI. It's fascinating to watch and listen to the good liars and the bad liars. Who knows, if I wait long enough, there may even be some non-liars.

Ok, back to the show.


LOL the so-called "PRO" party of Laval (no one knows what the letters stand for) has decided to dissolve. It lasted exactly 10 days after Gilles Vaillancourt decided that 23 years as mayor was enough. They hold every single one of the 20 seats in city council. Good riddance to Gilles and his PRO!

[url= l'ancien parti de Vaillancourt annonce sa dissolution[/url]



Radio-Canada has learned that Vito Rizzuto, ex-chieftain of the Montréal Mafia, has been subpoenaed to testify!

Rizzuto returned to Canada on October 5, after serving 10 years in Colorado for his role in a triple murder and a case of fraud. Police lost track of him shortly after.

UPDATE: Confirmed by the police:

[url= Mafia don will testify at the Charbonneau commission[/url]


Quebec Police served Rizzuto with a subpoena on Nov. 19 in Montreal.

Rizzuto is widely believed to be the head of the Sicilian Mafia in Canada and was once the most powerful figure in Montreal's underworld. [...]

Rizzuto flew back to Canada in October after serving an eight-year sentence in a U.S. prison for his role in the 1981 murders of three Mafia lieutenants in New York.

During his years behind bars, the Rizzuto family faced a violent putsch. Many of Rizzuto's friends and family disappeared or were killed, including his father and a son who were both gunned down.

Police now believe people loyal to Rizzuto may be behind several retaliatory acts since he was released.


Yes, there have been several mob-related murders hereabouts of late, either among the Mafia or ancilliary gangs. 

Who needs the NHL? Pass the popcorn... 


Another angle on all this, with a renewal of Mafioso stereotypes. Interesting piece by Marco Micone, a progressive Italo-Québecois writer who is VERY critical of the ethnic power brokers who, among this community like many others, had an interest in keeping their community ghettoized and fostering suspicions on all sides.

Of course the Mafia exists, and is very infleuential. That is not the question here. 


The Commission is taking an extended "Temps des fêtes" holiday - no, they aren't all taking a long beach holiday in some sunny hotspot. There seems to be simply too much material, and certain delays in getting key witnesses to take the stand.

Not returning until the 21st of January. 


Tomorrow, barring any last-minute unexpected objections (the PLQ lawyer – who BTW looked like a fool today – said this afternoon he was withdrawing a non-divulgation motion he had previously intended to present), we will learn the names of two Liberals, including one elected official, who had meetings in the very private Club 357C. (Today, the commission showed a series of meetings that took place there involving a number of persons whose names have been previously mentioned in the Commission's hearings or in news stories about shady dealings and the criminal charges that resulted from said dealings – notably the people who revolved around the Faubourg Contrecoeur scandal [Martial Fillion, Frank Zampino, Paolo Catania, Pasquale Fedele, Bernard Trépanier, Daniel Gauthier]).

Time to restock on popcorn, place your bets, etc.


[url= search Charbonneau Commission witness's home after bomb threat[/url]


A former construction boss who gave explosive testimony at the Charbonneau Commission on Monday was the victim of a bomb threat Tuesday night.

Police in Mascouche said they were searching the home of Piero Di lorio, the former head of Excavation D.P. Ltd., and have evacuated several homes in the neighbourhood north of Montreal. [...]

Di lorio told the commission that he didn’t get contracts in Montreal because he wasn’t Sicilian.

He also claimed that the brother of a construction boss intentionally slammed into his truck in the Ville Marie tunnel to prevent him from getting to city hall on time to submit a bid. The driver of the other vehicle was Johnny Piazza, Di lorio said, brother of local construction boss Joey Piazza.



So it's Line Beauchamp and Tony Tomassi, plus Pierre Bibeau, a central organizer figure for the Liberals. To recap: Tomassi has been charged with fraud and breach of trust; during the Commission hearings, Lino Zambito said that he gave 30 000$ in cash to Bibeau, Line Beauchamp's ex-husband, in the context of a fund-raising activity for Beauchamp. (Radio-Canada story; La Presse story.)


Lots of other names are coming out, notably Union Montreal people (Claude Dauphin, Sammy Forcillo, Marc Deschamps), Liberal people (Joel Gauthier, former head of AMT and former managing director [I think?] of the PLQ), Leo Housakos, Benoît Labonté, etc.


Oh, and of course Line Beauchamp resigned – actually, quit politics altogether – on May 14, 2012. At the time, she was Education minister (during the student strike).


And more names of frequent, regular, or occasional visitors to Club 357C, often meeting with construction entrepreneurs:

Jean-Marc Fournier (interim leader of the Liberal Party); François Legault (leader of CAQ); Pauline Marois (er, um, premier of Québec); and some of her cabinet ministers: Jean-François Lisée, Réjean Hébert, Agnès Maltais...

Hey, no big deal - as Lisée said, they could have met at St-Hubert (sort of our version of KFC), though that's cheaper and less private.

This is starting to get interesting.

Oh wait - the mention of Con bagman Leo Housakos reminded me of this story from last May - can we (please) drag Stephen Harper into the widening net?

[url= Tories tied to Québec companies accused of corruption[/url]


Unionist wrote:

And more names of frequent, regular, or occasional visitors to Club 357C, often meeting with construction entrepreneurs:

Jean-Marc Fournier (interim leader of the Liberal Party); François Legault (leader of CAQ); Pauline Marois (er, um, premier of Québec); and some of her cabinet ministers: Jean-François Lisée, Réjean Hébert, Agnès Maltais...

The difference between those names you mention and the names I've listed, however, is that those I listed, which are being mentioned in the Commission hearing, attended meetings with representatives of engineering firms and construction bosses. And that there's been incriminating evidence (cash donations; frauds; other illegal maneuvers; etc.) tied to those representatives/construction bosses given by other witnesses in previous hearings of the Commission.

So far as I know, no other evidence of the like is tied to the names you've listed.

(This isn't to say that the general "cloud of cozy secrecy" that's being revealed in relation to these political figures is somewhat disturbing.)



Bärlüer wrote:

So far as I know, no other evidence of the like is tied to the names you've listed.

Yeah, I know, but the popcorn is having its effect on me. I just caught myself thinking: "Guilty until proven innocent."

Anyway, here's the latest Gazette-style gossip in place of evidence:

[url= Le 357c club in Charbonneau spotlight: Premier Pauline Marois frequents Old Montreal spot - ‘Everyone who goes there cannot be accused to being there to be bought,’ Marois says[/url]


This seems more reliable:

[url= pay for Mr. Three Percent[/url]

During the same time that Bernard Trépanier, also known as “Mr. Three Per Cent,” is accused of taking a cut of municipal public works contracts and earning his nickname, the Montreal Island Citizens Union party was also charging his salary and expenses to Montreal taxpayers, documents obtained from the city reveal.


Unionist, on Nov. 1, wrote:
The mayor of Mascouche is under indictment but refuses to step down while awaiting trial.


[url=]Marcotte gives up: Mascouche needs a new mayor[/url]

As predicted long ago by [url=]Queen[/url].



[url= squad arrests the mayor of Saint Rémi, his son, and a local construction company head[/url]



[url= report was given to city brass: Applebaum[/url]


Montreal Mayor Michael Applebaum confirmed Monday the now-famous 2004 report that detailed collusion among construction firms had been given at the time to city manager Robert Abdallah and Frank Zampino, chairman of the city’s executive committee, before mysteriously disappearing for eight years without the knowledge of other city officials.

Applebaum also announced the city’s new anti-corruption committee will be revealed in the days to come, on the same day comments by Quebec’s lobbying commissioner criticizing the city’s new contract-awarding policy as too weak were revealed by Projet Montréal.

Other missing reports that were revealed from 2006 and 2009 detailed how estimated costs were regularly low in 2005, and how the city had few controls to detect fraud and collusion. [...]

[P]rojet Montréal councillor Alexander Norris read excerpts from a letter from Quebec lobbying commissioner François Casgrain criticizing the city’s new contract-awarding policy as being too timid.

“I can only deplore the timidity of the new measures that will be adopted,” Norris said, reading from Casgrain’s letter, after writing to the lobbying commissioner for an opinion on measures to be adopted by council this week.

Casgrain’s letter says the city’s measures will be insufficient to meet the objectives of Bill 76, provincial legislation passed in 2010 to tighten contract-awarding rules in municipalities.


[url= "bias" blamed in Missing Women report[/url]


If the missing women had been from Vancouver’s posh west side instead of sex-trade workers from the beleaguered Downtown Eastside, the police probe into serial killer Robert Pickton would likely have wrapped up sooner, according to the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry report released Monday.

In his long-awaited report, inquiry commissioner Wally Oppal found the vicious pig farmer’s victims were “forsaken twice” — once by society at large and again by police.

The 1,448-page report entitled “Forsaken” — which was highly critical of police — stated police bias and failures mirrored “the general public and political indifference to the missing women.”



Yes, of course there was corruption, collusion and bad police work there, but there was mostly class and racial bias, and seeing street sex workers as "garbage". It is very important, but shouldn't it go in the ongoing thread on this subject?

Though like many other people, I don't think Willy Picton did this on his own. And police were seen at the pig farm parties. 


Different kind of corruption.  This is not the appropriate thread to talk about the systemic racism that has led to the ongoing Missing Women's tragedy playing out throughout Western Canada.  Charbonneau is about crooked settler politicians and not about aboriginal women and racism.


Geez, lagatta and kropotkin, I'm sorry. Either I made a mistake or the website did... don't know what happened.

If you look [url=, you'll see exactly the same post - at 11:12 pm last night - in fact it was the first post about the report being published. Somehow exactly the same post ended up here - 5 minutes earlier - don't know how or why.

No kidding it doesn't belong in the Québec forum about the Charbonneau Commission!

Once again, my apologies. I'll leave the original duplicate post here so that readers won't get too confused!


[url= Commission fallout: suspended city inspector François Thériault arrested - Faces charges of perjury and obstruction of justice[/url]

When he testified before the Commission, he was asked whether he had disclosed all the "gifts" he had received from construction companies (bottles of wine, etc.). He said "yes".

Apparently, he forgot to mention the $30,000 "discount" he had received on his house.


This arrest is clearly intended to have a chilling effect on future witnesses who may be disinclined to tell the "whole truth" when they testify in the new year.

ETA: Score another hit for Radio-Canada, which uncovered this in the first place. They have been doing their usual great job of investigative journalism.




No matter what other bribes were offered it seems you got a seat at a Habs game as well. No wonder they have been sold out for years.  Businesses giving away freebies to clients is a short step from businesses giving freebies out to public officials. The crooks even wrote the ticket bribes off as a business expense.

This highlights one of my bet peeves about our tax system.  Business people take each other to every kind of entertainment imaginable and they get to right it off as a business expense. The rest of us taxpayers subsidize their fun.  Their employees get to buy their own tickets at full price.


Since January 2004, for instance, the Habs have sold out every game played at the Bell Centre. The arena seats 21,273 and there are about 15,000 season tickets. The waiting list for season tickets numbers 4,000, Beauchamp said.

According to Forbes Magazine, the average cost of a Montreal Canadiens ticket is $96 — among the highest in the NHL.

That's when any are available.

For the Habs' next home game, Saturday against Philadelphia, a pair of tickets side by side can only be had second-hand and the price on one website ranged from $184 to $1,298 for a pair.

Some Montreal municipal employees managed to get tickets for $0.

In exchange, they did a few favours for construction bosses.

Some allegedly doctored work plans, approved false expenses, or shared inside information that ensured certain companies won bids and subsequently inflated the price of a project.

Their work helped businessmen set up a construction cartel in the city, in which a small cabal rigged bids and overcharged for public works. Under that system, illicit profits were divvied up between companies, municipal officials, political parties, and the Italian Mafia.

In at least one case, the hockey tickets appeared to have been as coveted as a bribe.

During recent testimony at the inquiry, engineering firm boss Michel Lalonde said he bought season tickets worth $14,015 for a civil servant in one borough.

He said the official demanded those tickets, for the 2007-08 season, on top of a three per-cent cut on contracts that had been previously paid out.

"The demand (for tickets) was high in those days — probably because the Canadiens were winning more often," Lalonde testified.

That year, the Canadiens finished first in the Eastern Conference. Lalonde said the tickets were passed off as a business expense.

Each of the City of Montreal public-works bureaucrats to testify has admitted to taking hockey tickets.

One described it as standard procedure.

"It was common practice in the city. It was part of a business model," Gilles Vezina, a now-suspended engineering department employee, testified.


Breaking News:

Montréal City Hall has been evacuated this afternoon. And that's not all:

[url=]UPAC [police anti-corruption squad] raids City Hall, borough offices[/url]

Officers with the UPAC anti-corruption squad are busy this afternoon conducting several raids in Montreal, including at Montreal City Hall, and a number of borough offices.

Reports are suggesting the office of mayor Michael Applebaum is being targeted, as well as the borough offices at St. Laurent, St. Leonard, and Cote-des-Neiges-NDG.

City Hall has also been cleared out.

In all, about 125 police officers have fanned out at 9 locations in the city.


The Charbonneau Commission was supposed to issue its final report this fall. Justice France Charbonneau has asked the government to extend its mandate by another 18 months. Rumours are rife that she has received a payoff from the popcorn industry.

On a less lighthearted note, our borough's director of permits and inspections, Robert Rousseau, was questioned Friday by the police anti-corruption unit. On Saturday, his body was found at his home. Police are calling it a suicide.

[url= here...[/url]



[url= Laval mayor Gilles Vaillancourt arrested by UPAC[/url]


Following up on a dramatic series of raids across Laval last fall, Quebec’s anti-corruption squad executed 37 arrests Thursday morning.

Gilles Vaillancourt, former Laval mayor and longtime municipal kingpin, topped the list of those taken into police custody, following a three-year investigation.

Among those also rounded up shortly after daybreak were construction magnate Antonio Accurso; lawyer and longtime Vaillancourt associate Jean Bertrand; and construction executives including Rosaire Sauriol, Anthony Mergl, Ronnie Mergl and Mike Mergl.

The charges listed include fraud, fraud against the government and breach of trust.

In a highly unusual development, some of the suspects will also be charged with gangsterism.



Yes, they are really throwing the book at them. Hope they have the firm evidence to make it stick.


UPAC, the anti-corruption squad, has arrested Montréal's interim Mayor, Michael Applebaum, at his home in NDG, at 6 am today. More later!


Wow. What now? Interim interim??


There are a whole lot of basic things I dont get about this.

Granted, there are many tentacles to it all.

Example: obviously, NDG was one nest of corruption. Are most of the present day concilors either [directly] corrupt or complicit in what they knew, or are the ones who did not have a hand in it kind of oblivious to how it worked.

I can't figure out otherwise why they would have picked Applebaum.


Unionist, on November 5, 2012, on the resignation of Mayor Tremblay wrote:
Time for the next crook to take over.

See, Ken? That's why they wouldn't let me on council. [url= knew too much.[/url]

Disclaimer: Michael Applebaum is presumed innocent until proven guilty (along with the rest of them!).

Oh, and we're getting a smidgen closer to Stephen Harper:


[Police] also confirmed the arrest of Saulie Zajdel, a former member of the city's executive committee. Mr. Zajdel was more recently in the news after he unsuccessfully ran as a Conservative candidate against Liberal Irwin Cotler in the 2011 election. M. Cotler has alleged that Mr. Zajdel then acted as a "shadow MP" working to undermine him while he had a job as an adviser in Heritage Minister James Moore's office.

Were they only arresting Jews this morning??

More popcorn, please.



councillor Jeremy Searle pointed out this morning that Applebaum, an active real estate agent, closed the doors to the zoning commission in NDG; no conflict there !



KenS wrote:

Example: obviously, NDG was one nest of corruption. Are most of the present day concilors either [directly] corrupt or complicit in what they knew, or are the ones who did not have a hand in it kind of oblivious to how it worked.

I can't figure out otherwise why they would have picked Applebaum.

We'll know more shortly (10 am), but it seems pretty clear Applebaum has been under investigation for shady land/zoning deals while he was mayor of my borough (Côte-des-Neiges - Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, aka CDN-NDG). That's likely what the charges will relate to. Hard to say how much non-CDN-NDG councillors would have known about such specifics.

ETA: Or wait... there's a rumour around it may have to do with snow-removal contracts...



Unionist wrote:
Wow. What now? Interim interim??

no, it is the traditional lame-duck lame-duck administration;

that will straighten things out ...



[url= Mayor Michael Applebaum faces fraud among 14 charges[/url]


Montreal Mayor Michael Applebaum faces 14 criminal charges, including fraud against the government, breach of trust, conspiracy and municipal corruption, the provincial anti-corruption unit UPAC said following the arrest this morning of the mayor.


UPAC says the charges relate to obtaining permission and political support for two real estate projects in Montreal's Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough between 2006 and 2011. [...]

Two others with previous ties to the borough of Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce were also arrested Monday morning. They are:

  • Jean-Yves Bisson, former borough manager.
  • Saulie Zajdel, former city councillor and former Conservative candidate in the last federal election in the Montreal riding of Mount Royal.


Ahuntsic-Cartierville city Coun. Jocelyn Ann Campbell and Vision Montreal leader Louise Harel also called for Applebaum's resignation.

Harel held a press conference at Montreal's city hall following the arrests to say she does not want the city to be placed under provincial trusteeship. She says an interim mayor should be chosen by city council.

Interim interim!