Robert Zambito, a council candidate for Denis Coderre's team in St. Leonard, is dropping out of the race, and his name will be stricken from the ballot for the Nov. 3 election.
Coderre's team confirmed the news in a hastily-composed news release earlier this afternoon.
It says Zambito had informed Coderre that he's the subject of allegations of wrongdoing stemming from a land deal in 2010. A Radio-Canada report suggests Zambito offered money to a fellow councillor to obtain a reduction in price for a piece of city-owned land.
"Denis Coderre is so proud to say and repeat day after day that he has a filter against corruption," Richard Deschamps of Project Montréal said. "What we learned today is that his filter has a big hole in the middle of it."
The councillor in question, Lachine's Bernard Blanchet — who's running for re-election to borough council on Marcel Côté's slate — supposedly filed a complaint against Zambito.
Deschamps said he couldn't believe Blanchet could head a committee with Zambito on it, knowing he is allegedly corrupt.
Just last week Coderre assured voters that everyone of his candidates had his confidence, without exception. The statement released today suggests Zambito had filled out an exhaustive quesionnaire — under oath — that turned up no visible irregularities.
It also suggests Coderre showed Zambito the door — and that his team has a zero-tolerance policy toward wrongdoing of any kind.
Mélanie Joly reacted and said it's another sad sign corruption is deeply entrenched with the former Union Montreal brand, many now under the Denis Coderre banner.
"[Councillors] decided to represent themselves during the elections, so Mr. Coderre knew that," Joly said outside City Hall. "He decided, notwithstanding that information, to associate himself with these candidates and to recruit them within his team, and he had the choice in June."
Those who voted for Zambito, will have the councillor section of their ballot annulled.