St-Rémi mayor and son plead not guilty to fraud charges
The mayor of Saint-Rémi and his son were formally arraigned this morning in Longueuil court on charges of fraud, breach of trust and conspiracy.
Michel Lavoie and his son Sébastien, wearing suits, stood side by side before the judge and pleaded not guilty to the charges during the hearing that lasted a matter of minutes.
The third co-accused, construction entrepreneur Dominic Dorais, faces the same charges. His lawyer entered a plea of not guilty as well, explaining her client was out of the country until Monday. The three were arrested in December and released upon a promise to appear in court.
The three men face a total of 17 charges in connection with conspiring to develop and build projects, with the mayor suspected of bypassing tendering process rules, changing zoning bylaws, and bid-rigging, between March 2010 and September 2011. The projects are reportedly a seniors' home and a fire station.
"Michel Lavoie was the mayor of Saint-Rémi so it has to do with his position in Saint-Rémi," Nektarios Tzortzinas, one of the two crown prosecutors, told CJAD 800 News.
Tzortzinas said they gave part of the evidence to the defence and that next week, they'll unseal other evidence and hand it over to defence attorneys.
The case is back in court in May.
Photo of Michel Lavoie: City of Saint-Rémi website