Montreal mayoral candidate Denis Coderre has lost a candidate in St-Léonard over an alleged kickback scheme. ​

Councillor Robert Zambito was running for re-election in St-Léonard.

But Coderre said that he has asked Zambito to step out of the race. 

In a written statement released today, Zambito said he decided to leave after hearing Radio-Canada's investigative program, Enquête, was planning to report that he had profited from a land deal by taking advantage of his position on council.

Zambito said the allegations are false but he had decided to withdraw because of the harm the accusation could do to the Coderre team and to his colleagues.

He said he will now devote himself to clearing his reputation.

Coderre's rivals respond

Two of Coderre's rivals who are running for mayor of Montreal spoke Tuesday afternoon, saying that if Montrealers want change, they need to vote for a party other than Équipe Coderre.

"Mr. Coderre knew there were criminal charges in the riding of St-Léonard, and he knew the candidates he recruited [to run in his party] were in power at the time the charges date back to," mayoral candidate Mélanie Joly said.

Projet Montréal's Richard Bergeron said Coderre's party has too many former members of ex-mayor Gérald Tremblay's party, Union Montréal.

"Of the 25 Union Montreal members that [Coderre] recruited with him, there is already one forced resignation," Bergeron said.

Robert Zambito's resignation letter

Zambito's profile removed from party web site