Montreal

Saulie Zajdel pleads guilty to corruption charges for real estate deal

Former Côte-des-Neiges-NDG city councillor Saulie Zajdel will avoid jail time after pleading guilty to charges of breach of trust and corruption in connection with real estate deals.

Ex-Montreal city councillor was arrested in anti-corruption probe in 2013

Saulie Zajdel was arrested by Quebec's anti-corruption unit in 2012. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

Former Côte-des-Neiges-NDG city councillor Saulie Zajdel will avoid jail time after pleading guilty to charges of breach of trust and corruption in connection with two real estate deals.

Zajdel was arrested in an anti-corruption unit sweep in June 2013 alongside former Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum and Jean-Yves Bisson, former permits director for Côte-des-Neiges-NDG. 

He had faced charges of bribery, breach of trust, fraud and corruption.

The charges stem from two real estate deals in Côte-des-Neiges-NDG that allegedly involved tens of thousands of dollars in bribes.

Zajdel spent 23 years on Montreal council before retiring in 2009. He later ran unsuccessfully for the Conservatives in the 2011 federal election in the riding of Mount-Royal. He later worked for then Heritage minister James Moore as a liaison with Montreal's multiethnic communities.

Zajdel's lawyer, Jeffrey Boro, told CBC News pleading guilty was a difficult decision for his client.

"Mr. Zajdel has decided to turn the page, close that part of his life and move on," he said. 

He received a suspended sentence and was ordered to perform 240 hours of community service and donate $10,000 to a charity.

Bisson admits accepting bribe

Zajdel's former colleague Jean-Yves Bisson pleaded guilty to fraud on Friday, while three other charges against him were dropped. Bisson admitted to accepting a bribe from two businessmen with alleged links to organized crime. 

He must complete 240 hours of community service and donate $13,000 to the Ste-Justine Hospital

Applebaum is set to appear in court next month for a preliminary hearing on 14 charges.

now