November 11, 2013

Control of union’s construction wing under scrutiny

A former union boss with ties to shady crime figures is denying he allowed the Mob and criminal bikers to infiltrate one of Quebec’s most powerful labour organizations.

Jocelyn Dupuis said they weren’t running the Quebec Federation of Labour’s construction wing during his time as its director.

Dupuis insists he wasn’t an intermediary between mobsters and bikers and the union’s investment wing, he was just trying to help people get ahead in life.

He testified at Quebec’s corruption inquiry that he didn’t realize he was involved with organized crime figures.

Dupuis said he knew Raynald Desjardins had previous convictions for drugs, but that he didn’t know about his Mob ties.

Desjardins is a former Rizzuto lieutenant currently incarcerated pending his first-degree murder trial in the slaying of a New York Mob boss near Montreal.

Dupuis admitted keeping Desjardins’ name out of a pitch for cash from the union’s solidarity fund when he pushed for a company called Carboneutre, a decontamination firm owned by Desjardins and another man with Mob ties.

Dupuis said his only interest was in rehabilitating people like Desjardins and giving them a chance to get back on their feet by working in the construction industry.

Commission chair France Charbonneau wondered how Dupuis couldn’t know about Desjardins’ ties to organized crime, given the media coverage surrounding his ties to the Rizzuto family.

Dupuis has been inundated during his three days on the stand by wiretap conversations between himself and various people with close ties to organized crime, such as the Hells Angels biker gangs.

He said he hid Desjardins’ identity from the fund members and outgoing FTQ president Michel Arsenault because he didn’t think they’d agree to fund the firm considering Desjardins’ criminal record.

The fund never did invest in Carboneutre.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2013

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