Rocked by scandal, mayor of Laval, Que., steps aside
Published Wednesday, October 24, 2012 6:43PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 25, 2012 11:19AM EDT
Gilles Vaillancourt, the Quebec mayor nicknamed the “King of Laval” whose homes and offices have been raided by the province’s anti-corruption squad, has temporarily stepped aside for health reasons.
Vaillancourt has held his post for 23 years, and before that served as a city councillor for more than a decade.
His announcement came hours after the anti-corruption unit conducted its latest raids, although police have not confirmed whether they were linked to Vaillancourt.
"You will understand that in recent weeks a number of events have created a very painful situation that has affected the mayor's life," said a statement from the municipality’s executive committee.
"As a result of this and on the advice of his doctor, the mayor has decided to take a break to rediscover the peace of mind necessary to enter a period of reflection.
"He will soon be able to share with you the fruits of that reflection."
Earlier this month, the anti-corruption squad raided two of Vaillancourt's residences, along with his offices at city hall.
Vaillancourt, 74, has also been mentioned in the Quebec corruption inquiry.
Former construction boss Lino Zambito has testified that his company worked with others to drive up the cost of contracts. He gave a percentage of the profits to the Mafia, and another cut to Quebec municipalities -- including a personal share to Laval’s mayor.
Vaillancourt has denied the allegations.
With files from The Canadian Press