Montreal-area mayor charged in corruption probe
Published Friday, December 14, 2012 10:45AM EST
Last Updated Friday, December 14, 2012 12:22PM EST
Quebec’s anti-corruption squad has arrested the mayor of a small town south of Montreal, his son and a business associate at a construction firm on 17 charges including fraud, conspiracy and breach of trust.
Investigators say Michel Lavoie, 58, used his status as mayor to ensure his family and business partners earned contracts on municipal projects.
In a statement issued Friday, anti-corruption commissioner Robert Lafreniere said Lavoie is accused of changing zoning regulations and manipulating proper bidding rules in order to benefit his associates.
Lavoie is charged with three counts each of breach of trust and fraud and one count of conspiracy.
Also charged in the sweep was his son, Sebastian Lavoie, 36, his business partner Dominic Dorais, 40. The younger Lavoie faces charges of fraud and conspiracy, while Dorais has been charged with three counts of fraud, two counts of breach of trust and one count of conspiracy.
The company Dominic Dorais Construction has also been charged with two counts of fraud.
The three men reportedly remained in custody Friday morning, but were expected to be released sometime during the day.
The anti-corruption watchdog said the behaviours these men are accused of can undermine a local economy.
"Breach of trust and fraud are crimes that cause serious consequences … for the citizens who pay the fees,” he said in the French-language statement. “The role of (the anti-corruption squad) is precisely to actively fight against these reprehensible acts that threaten the stability of local economies.”
St. Remi is a small town of 7,000 people, about 30 kilometres south of Montreal.
Its mayor isn’t the first to face the wrath of Quebec’s anti-corruption squad, which was formed in February 2011. The former mayor of Mascouche, Richard Marcotte, was arrested in April for allegedly rigging contracts in his town, which is north of the city. He resigned from his job in November.