2017-03-23

Rescinding and recommendations concerning the awarding of contracts for the rental of tow trucks during snow removal operations – review of decision issued on September 26, 2016, decision filed on March 23, 2017

Summary

Rescinding of the contracts of Excavation Anjou Inc., 9499237 Canada Inc. and 9335-5139 Québec Inc., which served as nominees to allow contractors on the Register of ineligible persons for Ville de Montréal calls for tender to continue towing operations, via new businesses, as if nothing had happened. It was also recommended that their officers be prohibited from participating in any calls for tenders and denied the possibility of obtaining any contracts by mutual agreement with the City for a period of five years. The facts gathered during the review concerning towing companies reveal schemes designed to conceal the real identity of the people carrying out the contracts.

SUMMARY

On September 26, 2016, the Inspector General rendered a decision in which he concluded that JeanMarc Lelièvre, president of Remorquage Taz inc., Steve Lenfesty, president of Remorquage Mobile, and Réal Tourigny, president of Auto Cam 2000, had colluded in several calls for tenders for the award of contracts for the rental of tow trucks during snow clearing operations. The investigation had shown that these contractors had divided certain contracts among themselves and submitted bids after communicating with each other and with other contractors to find out their respective intentions concerning these calls for tenders and the prices they planned to submit.

Since the contractors violated the provisions of the City’s Contract Management Policy (Politique de gestion contractuelle) (CMP), which forms an integral part of the tender documents, the Inspector General, on his initiative pursuant to section 57.1.10 of the Charter of Ville de Montréal rescinded the contracts still in progress. The Inspector General also recommended that the contractors be excluded from public tenders and from contracts by mutual agreement with the City for five (5) years. Thus, on November 21, 2016, the City Council added JeanMarc Lelièvre, Steve Lenfesty, Réal Tourigny and their respective companies Remorquage Taz inc., Remorquage Mobile and Auto Cam 2000 to the Register of Persons Excluded Pursuant to the CMP (Registre des personnes écartées en vertu de la politique de gestion contractuelle) until September 25, 2021.

The Office of Inspector General then closely monitored these contractors’ activities to ensure they did not attempt to again obtain City contracts. This monitoring led the Office of Inspector General to look into a series of contracts awarded by various boroughs since publication of the decision of September 26, 2016 to the following companies, which had never before worked in the vehicle towing business: Excavation Anjou inc., 9499237 Canada inc. and Remorquage BL (93355139 Québec inc.).

The facts gathered show that various fraudulent tactics within the meaning of section 17 of the City’s Contract Management Policy were used in calls for tenders 1615650 and 1615716 to enable JeanMarc Lelièvre (Remorquage Taz inc.), Steve Lenfesty (Remorquage Mobile) and Réal Tourigny (Auto Cam 2000) to continue obtaining City contracts from the, despite their exclusion.

As it turns out, Réal Tourigny (Auto Cam 2000) arranged with his wife, Brigitte Lévesque, to buy the tow trucks belonging to Auto Cam 2000 through Remorquage BL (93355139 Québec inc.), a company initially created and headed by Réal Tourigny but inactive at the time of the purchase. The investigation showed that Brigitte Lévesque then acquired the company free of charge. After removing Réal Tourigny from the list of officers and shareholders, she proceeded to buy the tow trucks, while Auto Cam 2000 provided all the financing needed to carry out the towing contracts obtained from the City.

Similarly, Excavation Anjou inc. was a front for JeanMarc Lelièvre and Remorquage Taz inc., and the company’s towing contracts were carried out by JeanMarc Lelièvre, who signed an agreement to this effect with Yvan Dubé, the president and majority shareholder of Excavation Anjou inc.

Lastly, the Inspector General’s investigation showed that 9499237 Canada inc. was a front for Steve Lenfesty and Remorquage Mobile. The purpose of the agreement between Steve Lenfesty and Raymond Lizotte, president of 9499237 Canada inc., was for 9499237 Canada inc. to rent the tow trucks used to carry out the contracts obtained from the City from Remorquage Mobile, a company listed in the Register of Persons Excluded Pursuant to the CMP which could not be used as a subcontractor, thus violating section 19 of the CMP. Furthermore, the investigation showed that 9499237 Canada inc. provided the City with false information and documents with forged signatures to hide the fact that Remorquage Mobile was a subcontractor of 9499237 Canada inc.

In the Inspector General’s view, these arrangements constitute fraudulent tactics aimed at concealing the identity of the individuals carrying out the contracts from the City. Their goal was to allow contractors listed

in the Register of Persons Excluded Pursuant to the CMP to continue their towing operations for the City, through new companies, as if nothing had happened.

The cumulative conditions set out in section 57.1.10 of the Charter of Ville de Montréal are met. The bids submitted by Excavation Anjou inc., 9499237 Canada inc. and Remorquage BL violate the tender documents’ requirements, more specifically, the City’s CMP. In the Inspector General’s view, the facts revealed during the investigation clearly show the fraudulent tactics employed by Jean-Marc Lelièvre (Remorquage Taz inc.) and Yvan Dubé (Excavation Anjou inc.), by Steve Lenfesty (Remorquage Mobile) and Raymond Lizotte (9499237 Canada inc.), and by Réal Tourigny (Auto Cam 2000) and Brigitte Lévesque (Remorquage BL/93355139 Québec inc.).

These fraudulent tactics were used not only to allow the contractors listed in the Register of Persons Excluded Pursuant to the CMP to continue obtaining contracts from the City, but worse yet, to get back the sectors in which they had been awarded contracts that were rescinded following the Inspector General’s decision of September 26, 2016. The contractors’ actions are not only an affront to the Inspector General’s decisions but also to the measures implemented by the City.

In the opinion of the Inspector General, the facts revealed by the investigation unquestionably justify the rescinding of all contracts awarded by the City to Excavation Anjou inc., 9499237 Canada inc. and 93355139 Québec inc., and the exclusion of these companies and Yvan Dubé, Raymond Lizotte and Brigitte Lévesque, as well as the companies with which they are associated, from all calls for tenders and contracts by mutual agreement with the City for five (5) years.

The Inspector General deplores that the CMP does not provide additional penalties for persons already exluded for a period from contracting with the City who, during such period, again use tactics violating the policy’s provisions. Furthermore, the Inspector General notes that JeanMarc Lelièvre, Steve Lenfesty and Réal Tourigny were not subject to the CMP in calls for tenders 1615650 and 1615716, as they are not considered as successful bidders’ “associates” within the meaning of the policy.

As such, the Inspector General strongly recommends that the City revisit its CMP and evaluate potential remedies and penalties against JeanMarc Lelièvre, Steve Lenfesty and Réal Tourigny.

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Rescinding and recommendations concerning the awarding of contracts for the rental of tow trucks during snow removal operations – review of decision issued on September 26, 2016, decision filed on March 23, 2017