Ex-Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay testifies at trial of his former No. 2

Ex-Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay testifies at trial of his former No. 2

MONTREAL — Former Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay is on the stand as a witness at the fraud trial of his former No. 2.

The three-term mayor is testifying at the trial of Frank Zampino, who is one of six people facing fraud and breach of trust charges.

The charges date back to 2007 when a large plot of land owned by the City of Montreal was sold for the construction of a giant condo project in the east of the city, dubbed the Faubourg Contrecoeur.

Authorities allege municipal officials were slipping privileged information to a construction company that was involved in a competition for that land.

In exchange, the accused allegedly received financial kickbacks and other gifts.

The land was acquired by Group Catania for about $4 million, a fraction of its $19 million assessed value.

Tremblay, who described himself as a retired lawyer to the court, described Zampino as an exceptional “right-hand man” with pertinent experience, having straightened out the finances of the former municipality of St-Leonard while serving as its mayor.

Zampino was the chair of Tremblay’s executive committee, which is the municipal equivalent of a government cabinet.

Tremblay told the court he wouldn’t have ascended to the mayoralty without Zampino’s support.

Charges were laid in 2012 and six people are currently standing trial before a judge alone, including construction boss Paolo Catania and four of his employees.

One accused has passed away and another will be tried separately due to health issues.

The Canadian Press
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