The City of Montreal is launching a legal battle against a company which allegedly had both hands in collusion, claiming more than $ 11 million for public contracts obtained through a fraudulent scheme.
“By rigging and hijacking [le processus d’appel d’offres], the defendants obtained undue advantages to the detriment of the City of Montreal and its citizens, and embezzled substantial amounts of the public treasury, ”reads a civil suit recently filed at the Montreal courthouse.
According to the City, Les Excavations Super inc. allegedly participated in a vast collusion scheme between 2000 and 2009.
In this scandal that led to the Charbonneau commission, it was revealed that contractors had joined forces to share the City’s public contracts. They agreed on who should get a contract and the others made bids of convenience.
This allowed the winning entrepreneur to boost his profits, up to three times the normal in the industry.
Francesco Capello, one of the representatives of Excavations Super inc., Also targeted in the lawsuit, played a key role in this collusion, according to the court document. As a “dispatcher,” dissatisfied contractors could call him and say it was their turn to get a contract.
“He was in charge of keeping the list of future contracts and the shares due to each of the contractors in the sewer and aqueduct market,” says Montreal.
Following Judge France Charbonneau’s report, the government set up a voluntary reimbursement program for companies that had taken part in the collusion, but Les Excavations Super inc. still hasn’t paid anything.
This is why the City has just launched a civil suit, which also targets its president, Natalino Capello, for 43 public contracts obtained from 2000 to 2009.
A receptionist at the company told the Journal that no one was available for comment.
► Unless there is an amicable settlement, the case will be presented to the Superior Court of Quebec soon.