Gilles Vaillancourt, disgraced former mayor, to be sued by Laval
Gilles Vaillancourt is facing charges including gangsterism, influence peddling and conspiracy
Laval Mayor Marc Demers says the city is preparing to sue former mayor Gilles Vaillancourt, who stepped down in November 2012 amid swirling allegations of corruption.
Vaillancourt was arrested in May 2013 and faces a litany of charges including conspiracy, fraud, influence peddling, breach of trust and gangsterism.
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The former mayor has been accused of using his status as mayor of Laval to award contracts to specific companies, and is also accused of bribery, favouritism, corruption and collusion.
Vaillancourt has denied all the charges against him.
The current Laval mayor. Demers, told Radio-Canada on Wednesday morning that the lawsuits are a direct result of the province's corruption inquiry, and he feels the city must take action.
"I think if you follow Commission Charbonneau there's enough proof there to take action. If we didn't take action with the testimonies available at Commission Charbonneau, I think we wouldn't be doing our job,” he said.
The city of Laval has hired an independent law firm to go after Vaillancourt to recover money the administration says was illegally used.
Vaillancourt was arrested during a sweep of anti-corruption squad arrests targeting high-ranking city employees, construction bosses and others suspected of corruption.
The city is also looking to pursue at least 20 companies, named at the Charbonneau Commission, that received 80 per cent of public works contracts during Vaillancourt's 23-year tenure as mayor of Laval.
"Everybody who was involved will be a target — Mr. Vaillancourt, different firms, companies or individuals who were involved in it," Demers said.
"We are convinced that this will be a profitable experience…for the citizens of Laval."
Political opportunism, opposition says
The opposition is accusing the Demers of political opportunism.
Action Laval says the mayor is trying to distract from his own legal problems. Demers will be in court in November, defending his eligibility as mayor.
“He's working to give him a good picture, a good position to say, 'I'm the guy for law and order in Laval. You have to re-elect me,'" said Jean-Claude Gobé, leader of Action Laval.
During last summer’s municipal election campaign, questions were raised about Demers’ eligibility to run for mayor because he had moved out of Laval for six months.