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Paul Sauve's firm, LM Sauvé, has undertaken large renovation projects in Montreal over the years, including St. James Church and City Hall. Mr. Sauvé was embroiled in a controversy last year after he acknowledged in an interview with Radio-Canada that he got involved with senior Hells Angels members on business dealings when he faced cash-flow problems in 2006. The company survived, but remained financially fragile. In bankruptcy filings in 2009, LM Sauvé declared owing more than $9-million to 256 creditors, including $14,673.75 to a company owned by Conservative supporter Gilles Varin, Varcan Communications Inc.
Gilles Varin has been a public-affairs adviser since the 1990s, helping companies in various sectors of the economy engage in networking and obtain contracts. He usually works on a monthly retainer, and said he adds a success fee to his deals. He made headlines in 1993 after helping the owners of an airline obtain a meeting with a Conservative minister. Mr. Varin is a frequent diner at the Mas des Oliviers, a restaurant that caters in large part to an old Tory crowd in Montreal.