Star witness at corruption inquiry admits Rizzuto a contact

MONTREAL — For years, former construction boss Tony Accurso has vigorously denied any links to organized crime, but on Wednesday, he came clean.

Asked by prosecutor Sonia LeBel if Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto was included in his list of business contacts, Accurso answered that he was a “minor contact.”

He also confirmed Vito’s son, Nick Rizzuto Jr., was also a minor contact and “someone he met with occasionally.”

The two men have since died.

READ MORETony Accurso testifies at Quebec corruption inquiry

For the past two days, prosecutors have questioned Accurso about his business activities at the Charbonneau inquiry, Quebec’s investigation into corruption in the province’s construction industry.

Accurso is the former head of Louisbourg Construction, one of the province’s most successful firms.

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He is facing numerous criminal charges in Laval and Mascouche for using bribes, namely vacations on his luxury yacht, to secure public contracts.

During his testimony on Wednesday, Accurso was also grilled about his cosy friendships with union leaders, including former FTQ-Construction head Jean Lavallee.

“He was like a brother to me,” Accurso said.

“Like the brother I never had.”

Many in the construction industry and union executives appeared to have a problem with this description of the friendship. They believe Accurso’s company benefited financially from his relationships.

In a 2009, during a police wiretap conversation, former FTQ executive Jocelyn Dupuis is heard talking about Accurso, saying “he controls everything, he gets whatever he wants.”

On Wednesday, Accurso denied having any sort of influence.

His testimony resumes Thursday morning.