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Montpellier now alleges he was offered a bribe to vote for the KED

In 2017, Ward 3 Coun. Gerry Montpellier said he declared a conflict on the new arena vote due to his ties to the motorsports sector; now, he’s changing his tune and saying he abstained because he was offered a bribe
gerryMontpellier
Gerry Montpellier is the Greater Sudbury city councillor for Ward 3. (Supplied)

A councillor with the City of Greater Sudbury has alleged he was offered a bribe if he supported the Kingsway location for a new arena in 2017.

During the weekend, Ward 3 Coun. Gerry Montpellier posted a message on Facebook that said he did not vote on the municipal arena’s location due to an “offered financial conflict of interest.”

The councillor went on to write that he was “approached in person twice by Mr. A--- on behalf of the developer, and once by Mr. K-- who represented Gateway.”

“Being familiar with my business involvement and participation with Ontario and Michigan casinos, both suggested the opportunity to personally profit by supporting the Kingsway location,” he wrote. “This for myself as a city councilor is clearly unethical and cause to abstain.”

In a subsequent phone interview with Sudbury.com, Montpellier clarified the financial incentive he offered wasn’t cash, but a business opportunity related to the project.

Further, he said he’s been saying the same thing “for years,” although last weekend’s revelation shed previously unreported light on his conflict of interest. 

An archived video recording of city council’s June 27, 2017, meeting** shows Montpellier declare a conflict of interest by citing a career in the motorsports entertainment business as his rationale. His full declaration was as follows:

“Mr. Mayor, I declare a conflict of interest as I have done twice before regarding this subject. For full transparency, I will elaborate on my reasons for declaring a conflict of interest. Due to my full-time motorsport entertainment business, this decision, either way, will affect my outside of council professional and financial situation. Thank you, Mr. Mayor.”

Sudbury.com, the CBC and the Sudbury Star all reported as much at the time — that Montpellier’s vehicle business could benefit from a motorsports venue, which is why he declared a conflict of interest.

After declaring his conflict of interest, Montpellier stepped out for the balance of the meeting, during which a six-to-six tied vote defeated a motion to have the new arena located downtown. A subsequent vote (10 votes for, two against) selected the currently approved location on The Kingsway, where the project became known as the Kingsway Entertainment District.

Further down in Montpellier’s Facebook post from last weekend, he laments the lack of commitment among proposed private partners in the KED, 

“None of the 17 developer-mentioned attractions ever made public documented legal-binding  building commitments to this location,” he wrote. 

“Despite my requests as a city councilor, insisting for their identification and commitments, I repeatedly receive this answer, the identity and building financial commitment is non-shareable and highly privileged information.”

Montpellier calls this “an odd and unacceptable answer regarding the vague accountability” regarding the investment of taxpayer dollars totalling more than $100 million. 

As he recently told Sudbury.com, Montpellier is currently advocating that the KED be deferred to the next city council. 

“After years of grandiose unfulfilled promises and drama, no outside building commitments, all lacking accurate information, this 80’ by 200’ single pad standalone hockey arena proposal should be shelved,” he said at the time. “Deferred until this or next council has all the facts.”

Sudbury.com is awaiting a response from the City of Greater Sudbury to the councillor’s allegations.

The City of Greater Sudbury’s elected officials are expected to receive an update on the KED during their Sept. 14 meeting, at which time they are slated to set a timeline moving forward. 

Montpellier said he anticipates receiving repercussions from the City of Greater Sudbury’s integrity commissioner Robert Swayze for some alleged violation of the city’s code of conduct, but that “the truth needed to be told, it’s that simple.” 

“No doubt I’m going to get a fine,” he said. “The rats who are always on my case are going to have Swayze do something about it — there’s no two friggin’ ways about it.

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.

**An earlier version of this story included a typo that incorrectly gave the year of the meeting as 2019. That has been corrected to the correct year, 2017.



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Tyler Clarke

About the Author: Tyler Clarke

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.
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