Wednesday, June 3, 2015


The common people of NDG in Montreal - for whom Michael Applebaum always demonstated such contempt - have waited a long time for this. We, "The NDG Splinters" asked Michael Applebaum to justify the fact that he was advertising himself as a real estate agent for Royal LePage while he was the head of the Zoning Committee.

His reaction, and the reaction of his friend, Marvin Rotrand, was rage and threats to throw us out of the public meeting. Rotrand even said that, if he could, he would ensure that we could never attend another public meeting of the borough council.

"The NDG Splinters". I gave our group that sobriquet after Michael Applebaum said that we did not represent anyone and we were "a mere splinter group.". We were a small group of concerned citizens who dared to be a thorn in his side. It took a long time for the authorities to take an interest.

Phyllis Carter
The NDG Splinters

Saulie Zajdel pleads guilty to real estate fraud
Posted on 5/27/2015 1:23:00 PM by Andrew Peplowski and Patrick Lejtenyi
Photo Credit:La Presse
Former Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce city councillor Saulie Zajdel has pleaded guilty to charges of breach of trust and corruption in connection with a real estate scam. in 2013, Zajdel had been accused of accepting bribes from a real estate developer in exchange for votes in council favouring certain real estate projects.
Yesterday he received a suspended sentence, was ordered to make a $10,000 donation to charity and perform 240 hours of community service.
Zajdel's lawyer Jeffrey Boro maintains that his client's case was pleadable, perhaps even winnable.
"We're talking about a $10,000 payment for which there was no quid pro quo," he told CJAD. "The charges against him for buying his vote were dropped because that was not the reality."
Nevertheless, he admits Zajdel's public life is over.
"Public life retired him," Boro said. "I don't want to minimize what the charges were, but he certainly received a lot of bad press."
Zajdel's guilty plea followed that of co-accused Jean-Yves Bisson who admitted to corruption charges in the case last Friday.
Bisson was the former director of permits in Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.
He was given a suspended sentence and 18 months probation.
Former Montreal and Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Mayor Michael Applebaum has also been charged with fraud, conspiracy,breach of trust and corruption in the case.
His preliminary hearing is scheduled for next month.

[May 31, 2015?]
Michael Applebaum will hear the Crown prosecutor's case against him beginning on Monday as his preliminary hearing gets underway at the Montreal courthouse.

The former Montreal mayor is facing 14 charges including fraud, conspiracy and breach of trust. Those charges are related to events that are alleged to have happened during his time as borough mayor of Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.

The preliminary hearing will determine whether there is enough evidence against Applebaum to pursue a criminal trial.

Applebaum served as Montreal's mayor from 2012 to 2013, after former mayor Gérald Tremblay resigned amid non-formal accusations of corruption. Tremblay has never been charged with any crime.

Applebaum previously served as a Montreal borough mayor from 2002 to 2012. From 1994 to 2002, he served as a city councillor and then as a city executive committee member.

He was arrested in June 2013 by Quebec's anti-corruption unit, UPAC.
Applebaum has consistently denied all charges against him and has vowed to fight them if his case goes to trial.

"Not only will Mr. Applebaum maintain his plea of not guilty, but he will vigorously defend himself against the charges he is facing and insist upon bringing the case to trial as soon as possible," his lawyer Pierre Teasdale told CBC News. 


Posted on 6/1/2015 1:22:00 PM by Shuyee Lee

Ex-Montreal Mayor Michael Applebaum at the Montreal Courthouse on 1 June 2015

The preliminary hearing for ex-Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum is proceeding even though he is not contesting sending his case to trial.  Photo: Shuyee Lee (CJAD)

Applebaum was arrested in June 2013 on 14 charges including fraud, conspiracy, breach of trust and corruption in municipal affairs. The charges are related to real estate projects in the Côte-des-Neiges/NDG borough while he was mayor there.
Applebaum has maintained his innocence since his arrest, denying the charges vigorously the day he resigned.

The preliminary hearing is intended for the crown to make its case before the judge, for the defence to hear the evidence and to prepare its own case and for the judge to decide if the case if valid and if there's enough to proceed to trial.
Applebaum's lawyer announced he would not contest that his client be sent to trial on the charges against him.

But crown prosecutor Marie-Hėlène Giroux told reporters the hearing is part of the legal process and will proceed.

"Mr. Applebaum has the right to challenge, to cross-examine our witnesses, and this is basically what he will be doing: cross-examine our witnesses and prepare for trial," said Giroux.

The only time Applebaum spoke in court was to explain to the judge that he may need the help of an interpreter to explain some French terms in English. Otherwise, he sat near his lawyer, flanked by the lawyer's assistant and the interpreter, and diligently took notes.

The first of the crown's five witnesses was Hugo Tremblay, Applebaum's former political attaché de press and chief of staff during his mayoralty in the borough. A court-ordered publication ban prevents the reporting of all testimony and evidence.
Giroux told reporters that while they have filed some documents, the bulk of their evidence will be the testimony of their five witnesses.

Giroux also told the court that she may need more than the five days scheduled for the preliminary hearing.

The hearing is attracting a lot of attention, with all of the 17 seats in the courtroom taken up, mostly by journalists.

Two other people who were arrested at the same time as Applebaum have since pleaded guilty in the case and have avoided prison time.
Ex-city councillor in the borough Saulie Zajdel pleaded guilty to charges of breach of trust and corruption in connection with a real estate scam. Three other charges were dropped.
In 2013, Zajdel had been accused of accepting bribes from a real estate developer in exchange for votes in council favouring certain real estate projects.

Zajdel received a suspended sentence, was ordered to make a $10,000 donation to charity and perform 240 hours of community service.

Former permits director in the borough Jean-Yves Bisson pleaded guilty to corruption while the crown dropped the three other charges against him. Bisson received a nine month suspended sentence, 18 months probation and community work during that time. 
May 31, 2015

The Shakespearean tale of disgraced Montreal politician Michael Applebaum begins a new chapter Monday, as his preliminary hearing gets underway on 14 charges, including fraud, breach of trust and conspiracy. The stakes are even higher for Applebaum now that some of the people arrested on the same day he was have pleaded guilty - including former borough councillor and federal Conservative candidate Saulie Zajdel, last Tuesday.

Applebaum rose from municipal councillor to borough mayor to become Montreal's  first elected Jewish mayor and first anglophone mayor in a century, only to see his political career undone by allegations of corruption. Now the man who said when he was sworn in as mayor in 2012 that he would "erase the stain on our city" is fighting to save his reputation and his political legacy.

From shoe store to mayor's chair

Applebaum ran his family's shoe store and worked as a real estate agent before he was elected as a city councillor for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce in 1994.  

It was after Tremblay was forced to resign in 2012 amidst a corruption scandal that Applebaum cannily maneouvred his way into the mayor's chair. (Tremblay has never been charged with any crime.)He served as borough mayor of Côte-des-Neiges -Notre-Dame-de-Grâce from 2002 to 2012, and he headed the city's powerful executive committee under former mayor Gérald Tremblay from 2011-2012.

Turns tables on former colleagues

After Tremblay's departure it was up to sitting councillors to choose one of their own to serve as interim mayor. Applebaum began to distance himself from Tremblay and his party, Union Montréal, reaching out to opposition councillors to try to build a new coalition.  

The day he was sworn in as mayor in November 2012, Applebaum promised to clean up the city - even though he had served as a high-powered member of the administration that had been governing it for the previous decade. His gambit worked, and Applebaum squeaked by his former Union Montréal colleague, Richard Deschamps, when councillors voted in a secret ballot by 31 votes to 29.

"I solemnly vow that I will erase this stain on our city," Applebaum said."I vow that I'll be your eyes and ears and that I will get back what has been stolen from you," he said. "I will give you back your city."

Dark clouds

Applebaum's early days as mayor were fairly sunny.  He established good working relations with the PQ provincial government and then cut taxes and transit fares.But there were dark clouds on the horizon.The same day Applebaum created a new municipal police squad to fight corruption in January 2013, he was forced to dodge corruption allegations of his own. 

The French newspaper Le Devoir reported that Applebaum was being investigated by the Charbonneau commission over a real estate transaction in the city's Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.Applebaum denied it.

A month later, officers from the province's anti-corruption squad, UPAC, raided Montreal city hall."I will continue to work as the mayor of Montreal and keep working on clearing corruption," Applebaum said at a news conference.Applebaum again denied any connection."I am not under investigation - that's clear," he told reporters in front of city hall that night."I want to reassure Montreal citizens that we are here to cooperate with the police. From the time of my election, I've made it clear I want to shed light on corruption and collusion."

Arrested and forced to resign

The allegations eventually caught up with him.

Police charged him with 14 offences including fraud, conspiracy, breach of trust and corruption in municipal affairs.In June 2013, less than a year after he became mayor, UPAC swooped in to arrest Applebaum at his home.

All the charges were tied to his days as borough mayor of Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.Applebaum resigned as mayor the next day, continuing to deny the allegations."Being mayor of Montreal is not a task one can do while defending themselves against accusations of this nature. This is why I am resigning as mayor of Montreal," Applebaum said in a statement."I have never taken a penny from anybody," Applebaum said.Applebaum received a $267,000 severance package, because of the many years he served as a municipal politician.

Accused of asking for bribes

Search warrant documents obtained by CBC in October 2013 revealed more details about the allegations against Applebaum.The documents show UPAC investigators suspected Applebaum was a key player in a system of corruption in his home borough.

The documents show UPAC investigators believed Applebaum was asking real estate developers for cash in return for zoning changes.Investigators took a keen interest in several major real-estate projects in the works in Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce while Applebaum was borough mayor, including the  McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) superhospital, the site of an old orphanage and an entire sector of the borough known as "the Triangle."

Working again in real estate

Applebaum has not spoken publicly since he resigned as mayor.But he did surface recently, returning to an old job.

Sometime in 2014 he started working again as a real estate broker.Salvatore Sansalone, the director of Imagine Realty, told CBC News in April he first met Applebaum more than a decade ago, when they worked at Royal Lepage together. "He is a real estate broker with a valid licence. Why should I not hire him?" Sansalone said. "I've had people come in from Montreal West and neighbouring NDG, coming into my office congratulating me...He's been a great character of the city. He's done great things," Sansalone said. 

Guilty pleas from associates

In the weeks leading up to the beginning of Applebaum's preliminary hearing, the two other men arrested the same day as the former mayor have pleaded guilty.The charges stem from two real estate deals in Côte-des-Neiges - NDG that allegedly involved tens of thousands of dollars in bribes.

Former Côte-des-Neiges - NDG city councillor Saulie Zajdel pleaded guilty last Tuesday to charges of breach of trust and corruption. Zajdel's lawyer, Jeffrey Boro, told CBC News pleading guilty was a difficult decision for his client."Mr. Zajdel has decided to turn the page, close that part of his life and move on," he said. The former director of permits for Côte-des-Neiges -NDG, Jean-Yves Bisson, pleaded guilty to fraud the previous Friday, while three other charges against him were dropped. Bisson admitted to accepting a bribe from two businessmen with alleged links to organized crime. 

Applebaum's day in court

Applebaum has consistently denied all charges against him and vowed to fight them.Last Thursday, his lawyer, Pierre Teasdale, told CBC News in an email that the guilty pleas from Zajdel and Bisson will not change that.?"

Not only will Mr. Applebaum maintain his plea of not guilty, but he will vigorously defend himself against the charges he is facing and insist upon bringing the case to trial as soon as possible," Teasdale said in the statement."The conclusion of the files of Mr. Bisson and Mr. Zajdel have nothing to do with my client's case, and we are totally indifferent to them," Teasdale said.

1 comment:

Phyllis Carter said...