Zambito, the former vice-president of a construction firm and a witness at the commission looking into corruption in the construction industry, testified Monday that Montreal mob boss Vito Rizzuto once mediated a conflict between him and construction magnate Tony Accurso over a contract for Transport Québec.
According to Zambito, the former vice-president of construction company Infrabec, the contract was for the l'Acadie circle in Montreal. The $25-million contract was awarded in 2003-04.
In a press release, Accurso denies ever requesting that Rizzuto intervene between he and Zambito over the contract's acquisition and also denies meeting with the two men at L'Onyx, a restaurant in Laval.
Accurso denies having any differences with Zambito over "any public contracts whatsoever."
According to Zambito's testimony, the conflict was to be solved at the restaurant in Laval. Once at the location, Zambito saw that both Accurso and Rizzuto were in attendance.
The former Infrabec vice-president said he was surprise to see Rizzuto and would have invited his father Giuseppe since he and the Mob boss's father both come from the same village in Italy.
"He really behaved as a mediator," said Zambito about Rizzuto. "He never imposed anything."
He went on to say that the meeting was polite, but that Zambito backed away from the contract after realizing the project may have been too big for his new construction firm.
"[Rizzuto's] position was clear: Listen, it's a big project. You're starting out, it's not the time to make a fool of yourself on a project like that. If you have interest, really, try to find a solution with him. Or, this time it's him, and next time, it's you."
The meeting at L'Onyx happened about a week after someone from Louisbourg Constructions or Simard-Beaudry – another construction firm linked to Accurso – called Zambito to inform him that both firms were interested in the project.
Zambito told the Charbonneau commission he believed the man who called him was Frank Minicucci, a vice-president of Louisbourg Constructions.