Corruption charges plague former Conservative candidate and Montreal Interim Mayor

Montreal Interim Mayor Michael Applebaum and former Conservative candidate for Mount Royal Saulie Zajdel were arrested today and face corruption charges. Applebaum became Interim Mayor after Gerald Temblay was forced to resign due to corruption allegations of his own. Zajdel was the Conservatives' best chance of getting a seat in Montreal in the last election and now he sits in jail.

Applebaum faces 14 charges including fraud, breach of trust, conspiracy and municipal corruption and has exited jail earlier this afternoon. The charges were laid by UPAC, Quebec's anti-corruption squad.

The squad said the charges have to do with obtaining permission and political support for two real estate projects in the Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough between 2006 and 2011.

"No one is above the law and you can't hide from the law," said Robert Lafrenière, head of UPAC.

The troubling fact about the arrest has to do with Applebaum's promise to clean up the city.

CAQ Montreal critic Stéphane Le Bouyonnec made calls for Montreal to be put under trusteeship, something Marois said was unnecessary. 

"Quebec has to act with resolve and put Montreal into trusteeship," said Le Bouyonnec. "When there's a [raid] like that the mayor has to resign."

Marois said Applebaum doesn't have a choice but to resign, but said she trusts Montreal politicians can continue to run the city.

“I think he doesn’t have really a choice -- he should resign,” she said. “It is not a situation where the politicians of Montreal are mass-accused.”

Meanwhile, on the federal side, Zajdel went from a potential Conservative star in Montreal to an implication of the party into the province's corruption mess.

His charges include breach of trust, fraud and corruption from alleged activities that took place January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2008.

Zajdel is a person of interest given he sent robocalls in the Mount Royal riding claiming federal Liberal MP Irwin Cotler was resigning. The robocall was proven to be a smear campaign and Zajdel lost against Cotler in 2011.

Opposition MPs are now asking about Zajdel's links to Conservative Heritage Minister James Moore after finding his name on the minister's payroll.

What do you think of the corruption charges placed on the Montreal Interim Mayor and former Conservative Mount Royal candidate Saulie Zajdel? Will this new wave of corruption charges harm Montreal's and Quebec's image across Canada? Share this article, join the discussion and let us know what you think: Facebook, Twitter, Google+