Construction boss clarifies $10,000 Union Montréal cheque story
'Mr. Sidewalk' expected to be called as next witness
Construction entrepreneur Giuseppe Borsellino returned to the witness stand at the Charbonneau commission this morning and corrected earlier testimony he gave about a $10,000 cheque.
Earlier this month, Borsellino testified that he wrote a $10,000 cheque from a company account, and his wife gave it to Union Montréal organizer Martin Dumont in 2005.
Borsellino's testimony from Feb. 7
"I saw it on 'l’épisode de Dumont' that he came to my personal home and pick up a company cheque for $10,000. That’s why he was probably calling me. Now I don’t know the dates. Maybe I am wrong on (2005) but I am just telling you that I am probably a little tired, because I know that he was soliciting that $10,000. I know that I didn’t meet Mr. Dumont ever, but he did come and pick up a cheque at my house, and I think my wife opened the door and gave him an envelope with a cheque, a company cheque."
Prosecutor Tremblay: "Just so I understand your testimony: You said you were already solicited by Martin Dumont for a donation to Union Montréal, and he came to pick up a cheque for $10,000 that your wife gave him. Is that what you are saying?"
Borsellino said the cheque may have been to help finance the municipal de-amalgamation campaign, but he wasn’t certain. The incident came up while he was being questioned about five phone calls he received from Union Montréal party fundraiser Bernard Trépanier in 2005.
Today, after a scheduled week-long break in the hearings, Borsellino told the commission that he did some research and found that he in fact wrote two cheques – one for $2,000 and another for $4,000 – and they were for the FINA World Aquatic Championships in 2005.
Borsellino said he wasn’t certain, but he believed he made the donation after he was solicited by Trépanier.
"He was soliciting me one year – the year they needed money for those games," Borsellino said.
"I’m being very respectful, and I’ve done my homework on that. That’s all we could see. It wasn’t a political donation, it was for the games, and it was sold as a package."
He said it was the $4,000 cheque that Dumont picked up at his home.
Borsellino said he could find no record of any donations made to Union Montréal by cheque.
He said wasn’t certain of the circumstances when he told the commission about the cheque earlier in his testimony. He said he knew he had been solicited by Trépanier, but he wasn’t certain what the donation was for.
Mafia infiltration revisited
Commission prosecutor Simon Tremblay finished his questioning of Borsellino, but not before returning to the subject of infiltration of the Mafia in the construction industry.
Borsellino was vague when he was earlier questioned about organized crime in the industry, saying that he had heard there was infiltration but couldn’t name names.
Today, he was pressed further on the topic, but he insisted that his knowledge of Mafia businesses within the industry was "just a feeling."
"I know that many times, we feel that there is pressure, and it’s hard to explain," he said. "The best word for it is Mafia, but who are the players? We don’t know. I don’t interact with the players. I can’t tell you who they are. It could be who the newspapers say, but I don’t know."
He said when prices from subcontractors jump, it could be the influence of organized crime, or it could be collusion between the businesses.