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        Montreal workers openly took gifts from construction

        Fecha:Nov 13,2012

        “To my knowledge, our bosses got them too,” he said.

        City employees also openly displayed photos of their numerous golf trips with construction firm entrepreneurs that did business with the city.

        “We never hid it,” he said.

        The commission, which has heard hair-raising details of corruption and collusion between construction bosses and municipal officials, resumed on Monday after a one-week break. Mr. Leclerc was under cross-examination.

        Mr. Leclerc said staff cuts that reduced the number of city engineers provided a fertile environment for corruption. There were fewer controls and less oversight on work, he said, and engineers ended up working closely with the same entrepreneurs.

        Had there been more staff, he said, “it would have been harder for corruption to set in.”

        Mr. Leclerc, who has been noteworthy for his lack of contrition during his testimony, still declined when offered to apologize on Monday morning. He said getting teary-eyed or getting down on his knees would change nothing, and there was no point in saying sorry.

        “I don’t think the public will forgive,” he said.

        Mr. Leclerc has already testified that he pocketed a half a million dollars in cash bribes while working for the city of Montreal. Companies also shared their largesse with city employees who picked out holiday gifts at Christmas from the back of pickup trucks. He accepted bottles of wines, hockey tickets and free home renovations.

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