Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Former Laval mayor Gilles Vaillancourt scrums with reporters outside a courtroom in Laval, Que. on Thursday May 9, 2013. The ex-mayor who once seemed unbeatable now faces one of the Criminal Code's most serious charges: directing a criminal organization.

Andy Blatchford/The Canadian Press

A sworn witness at the Charbonneau corruption inquiry has admitted delivering cash kickbacks directly to the former mayor of Quebec's third biggest city, Laval.

Marc Gendron, a retired private-sector engineer, also described Thursday how then-mayor Gilles Vaillancourt orchestrated a system to skim cash off city construction contracts, right down to demanding an annual report that was delivered around Christmas time each year, usually over dinner at a Miami restaurant.

The Charbonneau commission has heard testimony that tens of millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks were given by construction and engineering bosses to political operatives and municipal officials in the Montreal region. Mr. Vaillancourt is the highest ranking elected official directly implicated so far.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Vaillancourt and his brother along with 35 others are facing charges including fraud and gangsterism for their roles in the scheme. Mr. Gendron is named as a co-conspirator in the case, but he is not charged.

Mr. Gendron said he started collecting about $200,000 a year, or 2 per cent from each construction and engineering contract, from firms working in Laval in 1996. When he retired in 2005, he estimated he collected at least $1.5-million.

Mr. Gendron said the system ran before his arrival in 1996 and other witnesses have described how it continued through 2009.

Mr. Gendron said he kept the money, which was kept in bank safety deposit boxes and his office safe, until he would run out of room and ask the mayor for instructions.

Mr. Vaillancourt asked him for $8,000 to $10,000 cash on several occasions which he delivered directly to the mayor's office.

More often, Mr. Gendron said he was ordered to deliver the money to Mr. Vaillancourt's brother, Guy. Mr. Gendron estimated about $800,000 was delivered to Guy Vaillancourt over the years.

Mr. Gendron said he didn't know what the Vaillancourts did with the cash. He said the mayor lived "a simple, very normal life."

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Gendron said the mayor, who was a longtime friend, asked him to start collecting the money on his behalf in 1996. He said the mayor grew distant after he started collecting the cash for him.

"He turned cold. I don't know why. My wife especially noticed," he said.

Mr. Gendron said his biggest haul over 10 years was delivered by Tony Accurso, the construction magnate who has been implicated and criminally charged in several other scandals involving bid-rigging.

In 2000, Mr. Accurso summoned him to a meeting where he handed him a briefcase with $200,000. "I was taking a plane to Miami the next morning, I didn't know what to do with it. I was nervous," Mr. Gendron said. He delivered the money to a notary who was an ally of the mayor.

Mr. Gendron said he also chipped in 2 per cent from the contracts his engineering firm received in Laval. He said he also made political donations at the provincial and federal level to ensure his company would receive government business.

But he said those donations were less directly linked as a return for contracts.

Story continues below advertisement

"It was more subtle than that," he said. "But you did it to stay active, to stay visible. If you didn't participate, you would easily be eliminated from contention."

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons or for abuse. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies