Jean Lavallée, ex-union boss, testifies at Charbonneau commission
Former president of FTQ-Construction implicated in previous witness testimony
The former president of FTQ-Construction, described as “a god” for the scope of his influence in the union, is the latest high-ranking ex-union executive to take the witness box at the province's corruption commission.
Jean Lavallée is expected to respond to allegations made by previous witnesses before the commission about his involvement in influence-peddling and criminal associations.
Lavallée, who was president of construction wing of the Quebec Federation of Labour (FTQ) from 1981 to 2008, also served on the board of directors of the FTQ’s Solidarity Fund and allegedly exercised influence in the SOLIM, the real estate arm of the fund.
The highly-anticipated witness is the 113th to be sworn in before the Charbonneau commission since May 2012.
Since the commission resumed public hearings Monday, Guy Gionet, former president of the SOLIM, has testified that he was essentially at the mercy of Lavallée’s decisions, describing the union president as nothing short of a god in terms of his influence at the FTQ.
Gionet said Lavallée always demanded to see any potential investment plans before the rest of the board and that he obliged.
He testified that Lavallée forced him to accept investments from an organization Lavallée had founded and directed before joining the Solidarity Fund.
Gionet also said Lavallée urged him not to fret over the criminal associations of some of his friends involved with the FTQ.
Lavallée has admitted to a friendship with former construction magnate, Tony Accurso. Photos of the former union president on Accurso’s infamous yacht emerged several years ago.
Gionet alleged that Accurso, who is now facing several criminal charges including fraud, had a direct line to the Solidarity Fund and that Lavallée was aware of it.
He said Accurso used key friendships in the union to secure funding for his projects.