02/04/2013 14:09 EST | Updated 04/06/2013 05:12 EDT

Bureaucrat says 'bond of trust' was broken with city

The former head of the city's real estate projects department told the province's corruption commission that he had to leave his job because he had lost confidence in the administration.

"The bond of trust was broken," Joseph Farinacci told the commission. "I couldn't continue."

Farinacci told the commission that the former head of the city's executive commission, Frank Zampino, interfered in what was supposed to be an independent selection process for development projects.

He said he was brought in to the city to help re-orient strategic development of city-owned land that was going to be sold to the private sector.

He described one project in Rivières-des-Prairies where the selection committee had chosen one company as the winner of a bid and Zampino intervened and suggested it should go to a different company.

Zampino said the company, which had lost a bid in a recent selection committee decision, was due for a contract, the witness said.

Farinacci told the commission he couldn't believe what Zampino was saying and asked him to repeat it several times.

"I asked him to repeat it a third time to be very certain that I understood what he was saying," Farinacci told the commission.

"He repeated again the same words."

Farinacci defended the committee's choice, but a legal opinion obtained by the city determined that the company that initially won the bid should be disqualified for non-compliance. A second selection committee was then formed. In the end, the company Zampino advocated for won the contract.

Certain portions of Farinacci's testimony have been covered by a publication ban because it relates to an east-end development project that is the focus of on-going criminal proceedings.