In the wake of some stunning allegations at the Charbonneau Commission embattled Laval mayor Gilles Vaillancourt will be taking a temporary leave of absence due to medical concerns.
Despite repeated calls for his resignation Vaillancourt announced on October 24th that he was temporarily stepping aside citing health reasons. Those close to the mayor say that while Vaillancourt is away from his mayoral post the politician will take some time to reflect on his professional future.
In early October Lino Zambito testified that for years now Gilles Vaillancourt, the mayor of Quebec’s third largest city, has played a major role in maintaining and actively contributing to a long standing culture of corruption within the municipal arena.
During his time on the stand Zambito, a former construction boss, personally accused Vaillancourt of taking part in acts of corruption in regards to the awarding and profits associated with Laval city contracts. Among Zambito’s most damning allegations involves his statement that every construction entrepreneur who received a contract from the city of Laval were expected to provide Mayor Gilles Vaillancourt with his own personal cut of that contract; said to be worth 2.5 per cent of the it’s value.
Due to Lino Zambito’s damning allegations involving wide spread corruption in municipal politics Quebec’s anti-corruption unit (known in French as UPAC) was called in and soon conducted extensive raids not only Laval City Hall and a number of municipal offices, but also Gilles Vaillancourt’s private residences.
Vaillancourt has a long history in the city of Laval. The politician began his career in 1973 as a city councilor. In 1989 he was elected to his first term as mayor and since then has been a respected and popular figure in the city.