Quebec’s construction Industry in the Middle of a Corruption Investigation
Quebec’s Charbonneau Commission is back in session investigating construction conflicts that marred former Quebec premier Jean Charest’s bid for re-election back on Sept. 4.
The commission is investigating flaws where some of Quebec’s public works projects in the Province and its municipalities have benefitted public officials that featured kickbacks from the construction industry.
In one highly touted scandal, the Quebec town of Mascouche’s mayor, Richard Marcotte, was arrested amongst 14 others that featured contractors and other construction company’s head men who would take large contracts in exchange for work done elsewhere. In Mascouche, contractor Normand Trudel, who accompanied Marcotte on his honeymoon in 2007, got about $40 million in municipal contracts from the town, which has almost doubled in population since 2003. That report was from a probe by Radio-Canada’s investigative program Enquête.
Also, former Montreal police chief Jacques Duchesneau produced a report for the province’s anti-collusion agency, and warned of “disturbing links between organized crime groups like the Mafia and the worlds of politics and construction,” according to a report from the National Post in Canada.
CBC News reported that one allegation the anti-collusion agency investigated said ”Excavation Mascouche makes backroom deals to benefit the Ralliement Mascouche [municipal] party. Suppliers, when they win a contract, give a five per cent cut to a secret fund.”
In another case in Quebec, construction tycoon Tony Accurso was arrested along with four others on a plan to defraud the government of more than $3 million.
The National Post article stated that an 18-month investigation: “uncovered a ‘clandestine empire’ of collusion in Quebec’s highway construction industry. The schemes were fleecing taxpayers of hundreds of millions of dollars. Contractors who refused to play along were suffering threats, even beatings.”
Currently in the Charbonneau Commission investigation, which got back to work today (9/24) from summer break, former FBI agent Joseph Pistone, aka Donnie Brasco who is famous for blowing up the U.S. Mafia, is addressing the commission about his work inside the mafia, which may also be involved in the awarding corrupt construction scandals in Quebec.
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Post by Paul Gogulski