Ap­ple­baum sen­tenced to one year in jail

For­mer mayor vows to come out a bet­ter man

National Post (National Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - SID­HARTHA BAN­ER­JEE

MONTREAL • For­mer Montreal mayor Michael Ap­ple­baum was sen­tenced to one year in jail on cor­rup­tion-re­lated charges Thurs­day, elic­it­ing a prom­ise from the dis­graced ex­politi­cian he will emerge a bet­ter man.

He also re­ceived two years’ pro­ba­tion and only when he’d been hand­cuffed did Ap­ple­baum fi­nally ad­dress the court, some­thing he didn’t do at his trial.

He told Que­bec court Judge Louise Provost he would re­spect her rul­ing and strive to be a model in­mate.

“I’ll re­flect on what I’ve done in the past,” said Ap­ple­baum, 54. “I will also re­flect on what I will do in the fu­ture.

“I guar­an­tee, guar­an­tee that I will be a model pris­oner. I will be a good per­son and I will do what I have to do.”

He also thanked his “re­mark­able” fam­ily. “One day, when I get out … I will make a life for my fam­ily and when I say that, I mean that I will put food on the ta­ble.”

The charges stemmed from two sep­a­rate deals be­tween 2007 and 2010 when Ap­ple­baum was mayor of the city’s largest bor­ough — one for a stu­dent res­i­dence and an­other for an aquatic cen­tre.

His crim­i­nal case cen­tred on the tes­ti­mony of a for­mer aide, Hugo Trem­blay, who said the long­time lo­cal politi­cian in­tro­duced him to il­licit fundrais­ing. Dur­ing the trial, Trem­blay tes­ti­fied he led de­vel­op­ers and busi­ness­men to be­lieve their projects would be de­layed or not ap­proved un­less they made a sup­ple­men­tal cash con­tri­bu­tion.

The court heard the to­tal amount sought for the two projects was $60,000, which Trem­blay tes­ti­fied was then split with Ap­ple­baum, who was found guilty of pock­et­ing about $37,000 in kick­backs, through Trem­blay, from de­vel­op­ers and en­gi­neer­ing firms.

The pros­e­cu­tion had sought a two-year pri­son sen­tence fol­lowed by two years’ pro­ba­tion af­ter his con­vic­tion in Jan­uary on eight charges.

De­fence lawyer Pierre Teas­dale had coun­tered with a rec­om­men­da­tion of ei­ther a sus­pended sen­tence or a mixed sen­tence that could in­clude pro­ba­tion, com­mu­nity work and non-con­sec­u­tive jail time.

Provost said ju­rispru­dence ruled out both sug­ges­tions.

She also noted there was no re­morse or any ev­i­dence pre­sented that showed Ap­ple­baum ac­cepted his ac­tions or ex­plained the mo­ti­va­tions be­hind them.

“The court con­sid­ers that the ac­cused will prob­a­bly not be able to hold an elected po­si­tion in the fu­ture, thereby re­duc­ing the risk of re­cidi­vism,” Provost said. “But the crime is se­ri­ous be­cause it has an el­e­ment of cor­rup­tion. This rep­re­hen­si­ble be­hav­iour vi­o­lates the fun­da­men­tal val­ues of our so­ci­ety.”

Teas­dale told re­porters the sen­tence was “in ac­cor­dance with what we might have ex­pected.”

Asked whether his client had ex­pected to be sent to jail, he replied, “He had been warned (that pos­si­bil­ity) wasn’t to be ex­cluded.”

THE CRIME IS SE­RI­OUS … IT HAS AN EL­E­MENT OF COR­RUP­TION.

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