NEWS

Montreal mayor to resume duties after brief hiatus

11/04/2012 03:34 EST | Updated 01/04/2013 05:12 EST
Mayor Gérald Tremblay will be back at work Monday after taking several days off, says a city spokesperson.

The mayor's brief hiatus began last Wednesday. Minutes before a planned news conference, a spokesperson announced Tremblay would not be attending. Earlier that day, he postponed a speech scheduled for Friday about his economic legacy.

Tremblay's absence follows mounting pressure on him to resign after weeks of damning testimony from witnesses at Quebec's inquiry into corruption in the construction industry.

Slew of allegations from corruption inquiry

Former Union Montreal organizer, Martin Dumont, was the first to point a finger directly at the mayor. In his testimony before the Charbonneau Commission, Dumont said Tremblay turned a blind eye to illegal campaign financing.

Before that, a bakery franchise owner told the commission the Mayor's former right hand man accepted bribes from a construction boss.

Elio Pagliarulo, the owner of the Pâtisseries Pagel bakery franchise, told the commission that Frank Zampino received $555,000 to facilitate a controversial land deal in which a construction boss aquired a piece of land in east end Montreal for $45-million less than its value.

The week before, testimony from retired senior city engineer Gilles Surprenant alleged that an internal city study showed municipal contacts were about 30 per cent more expensive in Montreal, compared to two other major canadian cities.

Surprenant, who was the city official in charge of planning and budgeting for public works projects, also testified he received kickbacks from construction bosses. He said he received $600,000 over a 20-year period, for artificially increasing the price of contracts for construction companies.

Resignation watch

Despite repeated and widespread calls for his resignation, Tremblay has proclaimed to journalists that he will carry out his term as mayor, which runs until November 2013.

Since Tremblay did not step down before Nov. 3, one year ahead of the next municipal election, provincial law stipulates that if he does step down now, he can be replaced by city council without an election.

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