A construction magnate in Quebec admits to showering a powerful union boss with hockey tickets, fancy dinners and an overseas holiday.
Details about questionable behaviour in Quebec continue to flow as a construction magnate acknowledges before the Charbonneau inquiry that he showered a powerful union boss who he calls a ‘friend’ with expensive hockey tickets, fancy dinners and an overseas trip to Italy.
Questioned on Tuesday about his relationship with former Quebec Federation of Labour’s construction wing Jocelyn Dupuis, Garnier Construction head Joe Borsellino acknowledged he was generous toward Dupuis not only because he was a friend, but also because of his position at the union.
According to his testimony, Borsellino supplied Garnier with hockey tickets to Montrael Canediens games and fancy meals but did not supply money, and is uncertain as to whether or not these gifs helped him win contracts.
So generous to Borsellino with his ‘friend’ he even shelled out $50,000 to pay for a trip to Italy which the two took with their wives, former municipal public works boss Robert Marcil, vice-president of another construction firm Yves Lortie, and others.
Adding that he did not give Marcil any money, Borsellino says he included the public works boss in the trip out of a desire to ‘improve my relationship with the city’ following the cancellation of a number of City of Montreal contracts.
Wiretaps heard during the inquiry of calls between Dupius and Borsellino included the two talking about a $40 million contract to reburbish a Rio Tinto plant in Saguenay and whether Dupuis may be able to help Borsellino win the project – a contract Garnier did not eventually win.
“If I had a project, I talked to him. He was a friend” was how Borsellino talked about the relationship.
“To the best of my knowledge, he didn’t help me get any contracts.”
Borsellino says he had been aware of rumours about collusion within the Montreal construction industry for decades, and that at one stage, he was approached by a notorious civil servant now nicknamed “MR. GST” about the prospect of involvement in some arrangements.
“There’s people at the city who were very powerful” Borsellino testified.
“And they could tell a contractor, ’You’re not gonna make any money unless you listen to me.”
Borsellino had previously been fingured by a number of former staff from the City of Toronto, who say they received kickbacks from him. Another witness, former construction company owner Lino Zambito, has testified that Borsellino’s company Garnier was part of a cartel which controlled sewer deals.
Published on 06 February 2013