The trial involving some high-placed municipal officials involved in the Faubourg Contrecoeur land transaction won't get underway for another 10 days at least.

The trial was scheduled to begin this week at the Montreal courthouse, but Monday's proceedings were taken up by pre-trial arguments.

The biggest name among the eight accused is Frank Zampino, who served as the chairman of Montreal's executive committee from 2001 to 2008.

Zampino was former mayor Gérald Tremblay's right-hand man until his 2008 retirement from municipal politics.

The ex-politician, seven other individuals and a construction company are facing about a dozen charges, including fraud, conspiracy and breach of trust.

Only one of the accused, urban planner Daniel Gauthier, was in court today.

He's scheduled to return on Friday, but in another courtroom.

Quebec Court Justice Yvan Poulin asked that all eight of the accused be present on Wednesday when more motions are scheduled to be heard.

Lawyers are scheduled to continue with the pre-trial arguments this week and next.

Daniel Rock, the lawyer for another of the accused, also announced he will again try to have the judge in the case recuse himself from the proceedings.That request was refused last week in Quebec Superior Court.

Charges relate to 2007 land sale

The charges relate to events dating back to 2006 and stem from the Faubourg Contrecoeur construction project, a large residential housing development.

In 2007, Montreal's Housing and Development Corporation (SHDM) sold the land in the city's east end to Construction Frank Catania & Associates, Inc. for about $4 million.

Zampino is alleged to have fixed the bidding process to favour the construction company. 

Other accused include:

  • Paolo Catania, one of the province's biggest real estate developers.

  • Bernard Trépanier, a fundraiser for the political party of former mayor Gérald Tremblay.

  • Daniel Gauthier.

  • Martin D'Aoust.

  • André Fortin.

  • Pascal Patrice.

  • Pasquale Fedele.

  • Construction Frank Catania & Associates, Inc.

They were arrested in 2012.

The former president of the housing corporation (SHDM), Martial Fillion, was also accused. He died in February 2013.

The accused will be tried by a judge alone and the trial is expected to last about three months.