Laval: no investigation on the three elected officials suspected of breaking the law

Laval: pas d'enquête sur les trois élus soupçonnés d’avoir enfreint la loi

Nobody will do an administrative inquiry into the three elected residents suspected of breaking the law by not declaring their interests to the City of Laval.

The Commission municipale du Québec (CMQ) and Elections Quebec have in turn indicated this week that they had not the necessary powers to address this issue.

In February of last year, our Bureau of investigation reported that three advisors laval (Isabella Tassoni, Paolo Galati and David De Cotis) were the subject of an investigation by the CMQ for failing to declare an interest in companies or of the land to the City of Laval, which could violate their code of ethics as well as the Act respecting elections and referendums in municipalities.

Isabella Tassoni, city councillor for Laval-des-Rapides.

Councillor Paolo Galati.

In the aftermath, the three elected had left the caucus of their party, Action Laval.

Unable to go further

Last Monday, Ms. Tassoni and Mr. Galati indicated that they have met with the city clerk for the City of Laval to “rectify their oversights”. They have also claimed to have obtained confirmation that the CMQ will terminate its investigation and that it will not file charges against them.

The CMQ can’t push further with its investigation, confirmed the spokesperson of the CMQ, Isabelle Rivoal.

The advisers would not have violated the code of ethics of the City of Laval. And the municipal body said to have realized, after several months of investigation, that the acts complained of were more a matter of the Act respecting elections and referendums in municipalities, to legislate on the disclosure of interests of elected officials.

However, this law is in the bosom of Elections Quebec and not to the CMQ, which must, therefore, put an end to his investigations.

“The Commission […] receives complaints […] We proceed each time to a inquiry, and it is only from there, once the investigation has been conducted, that we are able to say if this falls in our jurisdiction or not,” said Ms. Rivoal.

According to our information, the complaint against the councillors laval had been deposited in the CMQ in July 2019.

Guilt admitted

Yet, according to a lawsuit, filed by councillor Isabella Tassoni against the City of Laval for it to pay its legal fees in this matter, the investigations directorate of the CMQ would have asked at the beginning of the month of may, Ms. Tassoni record a plea of guilty to failing to declare his interests.

“It would have already, anyway, admitted certain facts […] in the media,” read the petition filed in the superior Court.

Why the CMQ would it ravisée since? The agency refused to answer our questions about it.

For its part, Elections Quebec says also do not have the powers to investigate or take action against an elected official who would submit a declaration of interests to be false or incomplete. Instead, a voter, a prosecutor or a municipality files an action for a declaration of disqualification of justice, for the chosen fault is no longer able to sit.

“The DGE can’t file such an appeal and no other penalty is provided for in the act with respect to a breach of article 357 [declaration of interest],” said the spokesperson Julie St-Arnaud Drolet.

The three advisors, residents can turn the page, as they are no longer referred to by any recourse in this folder. Isabella Tassoni and Paolo Galati have also announced that they were to return there the caucus of the party, Action Laval.

This, however, is not the case of their colleague David De Cotis, the ex-president of the executive committee, which is the subject of an investigation by the Unité permanente anti-corruption regarding the interventions it has made to the development of a sector where it owns land.

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