A handful of Tony Accurso’s former construction companies were bought up earlier this week by Groupe Hexagone, a new company jointly owned by, among others, two of Accurso’s sons and former AMT president Joël Gauthier.
Brothers James and Marco Accurso were managers of Louisbourg SBC, a construction company that has previously been named at the Charbonneau corruption inquiry.
Louisbourg SBC is a member of Groupe Futur Turcot, a consortium headed by SNC-Lavalin that is bidding on the Turcot Interchange reconstruction contract.
Hexagone also bought Gastier, Géodex, Ciments Lavallée and Houle H20 in the $150 million transaction.
Still, Gauthier insisted Hexagone, of which he is CEO and president, is turning over a new leaf and is not affiliated with the senior Accurso, who left the construction business last October.
Louisbourg Ltd. and Simard-Beaudry Construction Inc., two companies previously linked to Accurso, pleaded guilty to tax fraud in 2010 and were ordered to pay $8 million in fines and back taxes. They also had their licences suspended.
Tony Accurso not involved in Hexagone: Gauthier
Gauthier said today at a news conference that Hexagone’s board of directors knows regaining the public’s trust is a major priority.
"Mr. Accurso has no link anymore to any of the businesses we acquired," Gauthier said.
"We’re going to comply to all the rules that will be implemented by the government or cities. We are very confident we have a good company, we are a good contractor, we are good people, we are in good faith and we will comply with all the rules that will be set," he added.
Co-owner and board member Guy George Lever said the company intends to implement the best practices possible to ensure good governance.
He said they’ll enforce a zero-tolerance policy for unsavory transactions.
Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum said the city will remain vigilant with the help of municipal integrity squad l’EPIM and provincial anti-corruption squad UPAC.
"If companies do receive contracts, and they’re allowed to bid and receive contracts, that l’EPIM, our squad of police officers, are on the sites taking a look to see exactly who is doing the work. Is it the same owners, or has it really transferred hands?" Applebaum said.
As for the Accurso brothers, though they’ll each hold 16 per cent of Hexagone shares, they will not sit on the company’s board of directors.
Gauthier listed their qualifications, saying he would rather have them on his team than working for a competitor.
"James Accurso and Marco Accurso — it’s a question of perception, but they’re victims of their family name," he said.