ALBERTA

Former Alberta Town Official Arrested In Corruption Case

05/28/2013 07:00 EDT | Updated 07/28/2013 05:12 EDT
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A former senior Lamont, Alta., town official has been arrested and awaits charges for allegedly attempting to extract kickbacks from a Quebec property developer who had fled construction-industry corruption in his home province.

RCMP Sgt. Josée Valiquette confirmed the arrest of Tom Miller, Lamont’s former chief administrative officer, on Tuesday morning. Sources tell CBC News he was arrested at the Home Depot in Fort Saskatchewan where he now works.

Valiquette said charges against Miller are still being processed.

The arrest follows a joint investigation by Radio-Canada’s investigative program Enquête and the Toronto Star, which secretly captured Miller on video pitching an illegal scheme to Quebec developer Gilles Filiatreault that would personally enrich Miller.

Filiatreault had turned to Radio-Canada and the Star out of frustration with a lack of action by the town and the RCMP.

Lamont fired Miller in 2011 but denies it had anything to do with the alleged kickbacks. Filiatreault is suing Lamont for $28 million while the town has countersued. None of the allegations in either lawsuit have been proven in court.

In October 2012, Miller met with Filiatreault, who secretly recorded the meeting. The recording captured Miller offering to forge a backdated document on city stationery that guaranteed the town would renew its contracts with Filiatreault’s company for a year.

But the offer was conditional on Filiatreault signing an illegal agreement that would give Miller 50 per cent of any money awarded to the Quebec developer through his lawsuit and 50 per cent of the developer’s company.

“It is a letter that I have made, but I will testify that it is true,” Miller is heard saying on the recording. “We know that it is all bullshit, OK? But what do you got? If we don’t do that, what do we got?”

Meeting secretly videotaped

Miller has denied any wrongdoing. He refused to answer any questions when confronted by Enquête and Star reporters after another meeting with Filiatreault that was secretly videotaped.

The trail leading to Miller’s arrest began in 2004, when Filiatreault decided he had enough of the corruption in Quebec’s residential and commercial construction industry, where he had worked for decades. He moved west to Alberta in an attempt to cash in on the booming economy.

His company, Jabneel Development, signed a multimillion-dollar deal with Lamont to build 1,200 units, including houses, condos and commercial buildings. The town at that time had only 1,700 residents.

Filiatreault said his company quickly racked up sales of more than $11 million in residential and commercial commitments. But in court documents, Filiatreault claims Miller asked him for a five per cent commission on all sales in the development.

Filiatreault claims that after he refused to pay, the project was swamped with stop-work orders and other delays. He filed a complaint with the RCMP in December 2008 alleging Miller had tried to extract a bribe, but police said there was not enough evidence to pursue the case.

The development failed and Filiatreault returned, financially drained, to Quebec, where he has struggled to support his wife and two sons.

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