Former FTQ-Construction president Jean Lavallée's much-anticipated testimony continued this morning at the Charbonneau commission — and once again, he tried to downplay the influence that earned him the 'god' moniker from Guy Gionet, the former head of SOLIM, the FTQ Solidarity Fund's real-estate arm, who preceded him on the stand last week.
Lavallée was pressed by the commission on why the FTQ created the fund to begin with — and the extent to which controversial construction magnate Tony Accurso had control over it.
He claimed several times to have had a hard time with his memory — he claimed not to remember a number of things, including the salaries of electricians that belonged to his union, and what he did with union dues for the electricians' union he once headed. He blames his apparent memory lapses on a recent operation he had.
Lavallée also contradicted the testimony of another union boss, Ken Pereira, who suggested that certain projects were slowed down on purpose — essentially to send a message to workers and contractors.
In the afternoon, he then admitted he had been on Accurso's yacht several times — with each trip lasting about a week, and each trip costing Accurso roughly $70,000.
Lavallée said at the time he took those trips, it wasn't unseemly to accept those kinds of invitations, particularly since he considered Accurso 'a friend' — and denied that it was Accurso's way of trying to persuade Lavallée to do favors for him.