Sudbury

City of Sudbury asking police to investigate reports of council bribery

Sudbury’s city councillors have voted in favour of asking police to investigate reports of bribery related to the vote on the Kingsway Entertainment District in 2017.

Montpelier said he supports police investigation '100 per cent'

Sudbury Ward 3 Coun. Gerry Montpellier voted in favour of a motion Tuesday night for police to investigate reports of bribery related to the Kingsway Entertainment District. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

Sudbury's city councillors are asking police to investigate reports of bribery related to a vote on the Kingsway Entertainment District (KED) in 2017.

Tuesday night's vote was unanimous. Sudbury Ward 8 Coun. Al Sizer brought forward the motion following media reports that have suggested Ward 3 Coun. Gerry Montpellier was offered a bribe by developers to support the entertainment district project. 

In an interview with CBC Sudbury, Montpellier said representatives of developer Dario Zulich and Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Limited, did approach him to make the case for the proposed project.

But he maintained he was never offered a bribe.

"They said, 'This is going to be good for your business,'" Montpelier said. Montpellier has long been involved in the motorsports sector.

"And I look back and I say, 'are you freaking kidding me? You're saying this to a city councillor?' I said, that's it, I can't vote on this, that's just not ethical. And that was it."

Montpelier excused himself from council votes related to the KED due to a financial conflict of interest.

At Tuesday's council vote, Montpellier voted with his colleagues in favour of the motion to refer the matter to the Greater Sudbury Police Service.

"I'm going to be supporting this 100 per cent," he said. "The citizens will know for sure."

The words we use matter.- Ward 10 Coun. Fern Cormier

Media reports that alleged Montpellier was offered a bribe, stem from a Facebook post in which he wrote, "Due to an offered financial conflict of interest, I did not vote on the locations."

During Tuesday's council meeting, Ward 10 Coun. Fern Cormier said the motion was not to investigate Montpellier, but added, "The words we use matter."

Cormier said the phrase "offered financial conflict of interest" from Montpellier's Facebook post could be interpreted by some as a bribe offer.

Greater Sudbury Police told the CBC the allegations were brought to their attention Wednesday afternoon.

"Given that Councillor Montpellier is a former Police Services board member, out of an abundance of caution to ensure the objectivity of any investigation, we've requested the Ontario Provincial Police investigate to determine if a criminal investigation is warranted and to conduct any subsequent investigation," said police spokesperson Sarah Kaelas in an email.

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