Plateau mayor rejects embezzlement complaint against party
A report Friday claims several members of the Projet Montreal party — including mayoralty hopeful Richard Bergeron, Plateau Mont-Royal borough mayor Luc Ferrandez and Plateau councillor Alex Norris — are under investigation by the Montreal police municipal integrity squad (EPIM) over an alleged embezzlement of $36,000.
La Presse reports a complaint was filed with the EPIM squad on Aug. 30, which claims that in 2012 and 2013, the seven members of the Plateau's borough council (Bergeron, Ferrandez, Norris, Josée Duplessis, Carl Boileau, Piper Huggins and Richard Ryan) voted unanimously to offer a financial contribution to a group called Plateau Milieu De Vie, which was created by the party and which retains strong links to the party. The money — $31,792 one year, another $4,800 the next — was used for seasonal public markets that sell fruits and vegetables at affordable prices.
The EPIM squad is neither confirming nor denying such an investigation is underway.
No one profited: Ferrandez
Ferrandez, meanwhile, issued a statement Friday afternoon, categorically rejecting the accusations in the complaint, saying everything was above board, and that no one personally profited from the money.
"I am amazed that our opponents are attacking volunteers who give generously of their time on summer Sundays to offer fruits and vegetables affordable to area residents. Let me be clear: the 20 people that drive the market are free and do not derive any benefit from the use of it," the statement read.
He also took issue with the article's claim that current Projet Montreal party president Michel Camus also sits on Plateau Milieu de Vie's board.
"Michel Camus became president of Projet Montreal in August 2011, and at that time he had ceased all involvement with Plateau Milieu de Vie," Ferrandez wrote. "Projet Montreal is irreproachable. Projet Montreal is shaking up this campaign with its ideas and its dynamism. Its opponents will try by all means to undermine its reputation for integrity and transparency by the end of the campaign."
It's also threatening to file a complaint with the Quebec Press Council against La Presse for the article.