It’s not always easy for Montreal to enforce its “blacklist” of companies barred from municipal contracts. A delinquent snowplough, which was to be banned from tenders for five years, has been able to continue its activity in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve thanks to a figurehead and accomplice in the sector, according to a report by the General Inspectorate (BIG).
Posted at 3:02pm
Updated at 3:53 p.m
Louis-Victor Michon had been pinned for his secret maneuvers in 2016. According to an OIG report released at the time, he was caught offering a competitor $100,000 to not participate in a snow removal tender.
Mr Michon had denied any attempt at collusion, saying he simply returned an amount of money he had received from his competitor years earlier. His testimony was not considered very credible, so much so that the contractor was barred from public contracts for five years in both Montreal and Quebec.
However, a new investigative report signed by Inspector General Brigitte Bishop and submitted to City Council on Monday reveals that Mr Michon has continued his activities since 2016 and continued to be paid for with public money for most of his banishment.
The contractor would have used an “empty shell” called the Excavation Bromont. The latter was headed on paper by a certain Daniel Girard, but Louis-Victor Michon retained “de facto” control, “through a nominee agreement”.
Also according to the BIG investigation, Mr. Michon would then have benefited from the help of the company KL Mainville, one of the main players in Quebec in the field of bulk transport. KL Mainville President Serge Mainville is close to Louis-Victor Michon and received a $2 million loan from Mr. Michon’s father in 2014, the investigative report said.
As soon as Louis-Victor Michon found himself on Montreal’s “black list”, KL Mainville began bidding for snow removal contracts in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, which it offered to Excavation Bromont, the pod Mr. Michon used to disguise his identity, report subcontracted claims.
OIG investigators say they have gathered evidence showing Mr Michon was actively involved in contracts won in 2016, 2018 and 2021, including “including driving trucks himself, supervising truck drivers involved in the hauling of snow, and to perform the reconciliation of snow transportation data with a view to billing KL Mainville for its services to the City of Montreal and recruiting truckers”.
Testimonies are not considered credible
Questioned by investigators, Serge Mainville said he was unaware that the subcontractor he entrusted with all this work was secretly controlled by Louis-Victor Michon, his financier’s son. For his part, Mr Michon denied having been instrumental in the execution of the contracts and denied having controlled Excavation Bromont. Both of your versions were not considered very credible by the Inspector General.
Inspector Bishop therefore recommends terminating two snow removal contracts awarded to KL Mainville and disqualifying the company and its president for five years from public contracts in Montreal. It also recommends that Louis-Victor Michon be ineligible for public contracts with the city for five more years. As for Excavation Bromont and candidate Daniel Girard, it recommends excluding them from municipal contracts for four years.
Maja Vodanovic, head of consultation with the districts in the executive committee, said on Monday that the two contracts would be cancelled, but services to the population would continue to be provided. “Since it’s June, we have all the time to award new contracts to be able to offer the service that Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve deserves,” she said.
In collaboration with Isabelle Ducas, The press