By Rhonda Massad
Though seventy-year-old former Laval mayor Gilles Vaillancourt was not present at the Laval Courthouse on March 31, thirty defence attorneys gathered to get the latest details in the “Projet Honorer” case.Vaillancourt faces a dozen fraud-related counts, including two organized crime charges.The judge is expected to set the date for the inquiry during the next hearing on April 30, where Vaillancourt will be forced to be present by a court order.
The preliminary inquiry could start as early as January 2015.On Nov. 9, 2012, Vaillancourt resigned as mayor and denied all the corruption allegations against him after the Sûreté du Québec raided more than ten safety deposit boxes allegedly rented by Vaillancourt at various financial institutions.
Police said that the former mayor and a number of construction bosses conspired to fix the awarding of public contracts in Laval for years.Vaillancourt withdrew from the day-to-day responsibilities of running Quebec’s third-largest city, Oct. 29, 2012, after allegations emerged that he and others had used proxies to illegally finance his municipal political party. Two weeks later, Vaillancourt officially resigned as mayor.During the ensuing year, three more incumbents wore the mayor’s chain of office: Alexandre Duplessis, Martine Beaugrand and, since the Nov. 3 municipal election, Marc Demers.