Faubourg Contrecoeur fraud trial: Accused plead not guilty

The eight men accused in connection with the Faubourg Contrecoeur land transaction, including the former chairman of Montreal's executive committee, have pleaded not guilty.

Former Montreal executive committee chairman Frank Zampino among 8 charged in allegedly fixed land deal

Former Montreal executive committee chairman Frank Zampino is among 8 people and one construction company accused in the Faubourg Contrecoeur affair. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

The eight men accused in connection with the Faubourg Contrecoeur land transaction, including the former chairman of Montreal's executive committee, have pleaded not guilty.

Frank Zampino, along with seven other individuals and a construction company, are facing about a dozen charges, including fraud, conspiracy and breach of trust in connection with a 2007 land deal in the city's east end.

All eight pleaded not guilty on Wednesday in Quebec Court.

The trial was scheduled to begin this week at the Montreal courthouse, but proceedings have been taken up by pre-trial arguments.

Quebec Court Justice Yvan Poulin asked that all eight of the accused be present for the motions brought forward today.

Charges relate to 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, former mayor Gérald Tremblay's right-hand man until his 2008 retirement from municipal politics, 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.