NEWS

Mascouche's indicted mayor incites uproar at meeting

08/28/2012 11:16 EDT | Updated 10/28/2012 05:12 EDT
A suburban Montreal municipality was forced to shut down its city council meeting Tuesday night as about a hundred residents drowned out the mayor with jeers and calls for him to resign.

Mayor Richard Marcotte of Mascouche is charged with fraud, corruption, breach of trust and conspiracy on counts laid by Quebec's anti-corruption task force, but he has refused to quit his post.

Irate constituents filled a city council meeting hall Tuesday to press him, but Marcotte would not respond.

One man, representing a group of residents, stood at the microphone for audience members and demanded an hour-long question period for denizens to get explanations from Marcotte.

He persisted, and Marcotte eventually had police remove him. The man was handcuffed and escorted out of the meeting to a police car, where he was ultimately released.

Previous Mascouche city council meetings have turned chaotic under similar circumstances. Marcotte is escorted to and from the meetings by a corps of local police, at a cost of more than $5,000 per meeting.

He was arrested in April on six criminal charges stemming from the provincial anti-corruption task force's investigations into allegations of conflict of interest and other irregularities in the awarding of municipal contracts.

Among the allegations is that a company called Mascouche Transport and Excavation — which received contracts from the city worth nearly $40 million in 2008 and 2009 — did millions of dollars in free work on Marcotte's home. The company has had financial backing from construction entrepreneur Tony Accurso, who himself is charged with 12 counts of fraud, forgery, conspiracy, breach of trust and municipal corruption.

None of the accusations has been proven in court. Marcotte's next court hearing is scheduled for October, and his term runs until November 2013.

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