TORONTO (JTA) — Montreal’s mayor and a former city alderman, both Jews, were arrested as part of a crackdown on corruption.
Michael Applebaum, who became the city’s first-ever Jewish mayor when he was appointed to the post last November, was taken into custody Monday morning by agents of the anti-corruption unit, UPAC. He was charged with 14 offenses, including breach of trust, fraud, municipal corruption, conspiracy and receiving secret commissions.
Also arrested was Saulie Zajdel, an ex-City Council member who ran unsuccessfully for a seat in Canada’s last federal election.
Applebaum, Zajdel and a third man arrested Monday, Jean Yves Brisson, were being held by Quebec Provincial Police.
Zajdel is charged with five corruption-related offenses and Brisson with four offenses related to the years-long investigation into corruption in and around Montreal.
Applebaum, 50, won a City Council vote in November to serve as interim mayor for one year, with a promise not to run in the next municipal election. He replaced Gerald Tremblay, who resigned in a corruption scandal that linked him to graft and organized crime.
Zajdel was a Montreal city councillor from 1986 to 2009. He also served as a director of the Jewish Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation for more than four years.
According to his LinkedIn page, he is now a municipal affairs consultant and real estate broker.
Zajdel, running for the Conservative Party in Montreal, lost in his bid for a federal seat to Liberal Party lawmaker and human rights activist Irwin Cotler, who also is Jewish.
According to police, Zajdel and Brisson had worked in the local electoral district of Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dâme-de-Grace, which Applebaum had represented as either a councillor or mayor since 1994.