Italian Mafia controls 80 per cent of Montreal road construction

Organized crime controls Montreal road construction, former transport engineer alleges | Oct 20, 2009

MONTREAL – A retired Quebec bureaucrat turned whistleblower says Montreal’s Italian Mafia controls 80 per cent of contracts doled out in road construction.

The French language CBC and the Globe and Mail are both quoting Francois Beaudry, a former senior engineer at the Quebec Transport Ministry, as saying the Mafia controls what happens in Montreal relating to road construction.

Radio Canada says Beaudry and several contruction company owners say the control centres around an alleged price-fixing scheme among a small group of companies, dubbed by some the Fabulous 14.

Radio Canada quotes Paul Sauve, president of the Montreal masonry firm LM Sauve, as saying those 14 firms would essentially take turns winning contracts shutting him and others out.

According to the media reports, one company would set a bid price on a contract and the others would then submit higher bids.

Radio-Canada also reported that it talked to some owners of companies who alleged they’ve endured threats of physical violence and damage to equipment if they didn’t go along. Yvon Dube, whose family owns an excavation company in Montreal, told Radio Canada he was threatened by rival entrepreneurs if he put in a bid.

The two media outlets reported Oct. 15 that the bids were passed along by telephone, often using a code based on golf.

“We’ll start on the fourth hole, we’ll be a party of nine,” an instruction would go. The code meant the contractor pretending to set up the game would submit the winning bid, just below $4.9 million.

“The contractor who was getting the contract would be the one organizing the so-called foursome,” Beaudry was quoted in the Globe.

One kilometre of road cost 37 per cent more to build in Quebec in 2008 than the average cost for the rest of the country, according to a recent Transport Canada study.

Urban roads cost 46 per cent more to build in Quebec, while rural roads cost 26 per cent more.

Mayor Gerald Tremblay says everybody’s focusing on Montreal but it’s a problem across Quebec.

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