November 26, 2012
Quebec probe hears about brass knuckle beating
A construction company president told Quebec's public inquiry that he received death threats, had his equipment torched, and his brother was beaten up with brass knuckles.
Why? Because he dared to compete for public-works contracts.
The president of Excavations Panthere, Andre Durocher, told the Charbonneau commission that there was a price to pay for refusing to co-operate with one of the construction cartels operating in Quebec.
“There were drawbacks to not going along with the system of collusion,’’ he testified.
“Our equipment was burned, we got death threats, we had intimidation, assault, lots of things happened over the span of 20 years,’’ Durocher said.
Once, his brother was beaten up.
“He was punched with brass knuckles and they broke three bones in his face,” he said.
“He was out of commission for a year.’’
Another time, when he wanted to bid on sewage renovation work on Montreal’s Chabanel Street, he was forced to withdraw.
He said he kept getting calls on his office phone and cellphone, which he wouldn’t answer.
Eventually, he said four men in a black Cadillac showed up at his office.
Two came to hand him a piece of paper with a phone number on it.
“You better call,’’ he recalled the men telling him.
Durocher said he didn’t listen.
Soon thereafter, he said, his insurance agent came to see him.
He said the agent, Pierre Papineau of Comerco, told him: “Andre, we’re going to have our legs broken. You’re not bidding on Chabanel. I’m... cutting off the insurance on all your equipment if you submit a bid for Chabanel.’’
Durocher did not, in the end, bid on the project.
He said he would receive up to 20 to 25 threatening or nuisance phone calls if he ever bid on a project, where he wasn’t welcome.
Papineau, of Comerco, had testified earlier that he indeed acted as a go-between for Durocher and another client, who was inquiring about Durocher’s bid plans.
But, he did not offer the same account as Durocher, and did not describe relaying threats to him.
Durocher also told a very different story than one heard recently at the inquiry.
Disgraced construction boss Lino Zambito testified last month that Durocher actually tried to set up a cartel – one of several operating in different municipalities, in different construction sectors, around Montreal. He said Durocher gathered 15 to 20 construction companies and attempted to set up a closed shop for sewage work north of Montreal.
The inquiry has heard that such cartels would take turns winning bids, conspire with crooked civil servants to inflate the price tag on projects, and turn over some of the profit to political parties and the Mafia.
Durocher said that he never went along with such schemes.
News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2012
|MOST POPULAR STORIES|
|TODAY’S TOP CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS|
These projects have been selected from 371 projects with a total value of $1,936,826,394 that Reed Construction Data Building Reports reported on Thursday.
$134,000,000 Toronto ON Prebid
$128,250,000 North York ON Prebid
$100,000,000 Toronto ON Prebid
- Debate swirls over OCOT’s merit on its anniversary
- WaterGarden Worker
- Ontario to invest in cycling infrastructure
- U.S. construction labour concerns
- Compulsory certification in carpentry a “job killer”, says Kenney
- CaGBC to provide free LEED registration and certification for commercial projects in disaster-hit cities
- Economic cost of weather catastrophes is under appreciated: report
- Scotiabank sees slow growth in housing
- Photo Gallery: 2014 ACEC BC Awards of Excellence winners
- Journal of Commerce Preview for the week of April 21st, 2014
- Making Metro
- Crumbling roads a key election issue
- Early stages of concrete pump operator certification being developed in B.C.
- Legal battle over temporary foreign workers heats up
- Dive tower pushes formwork forward
- Understanding municipal strategy
- Calgary firm fined $35,000 for workplace injury
- B.C. labour minister calls for WorkSafeBC reforms
- B.C. prison proceeding