• James Armstrong

Former Director General of Hudson a ‘no show’ for first court date


JAMES ARMSTRONG

Maitre Robert La Haye representing former Hudson Director General Louise Léger-Villandré, (in front, holding briefcase) met with Crown Prosecutor Mathieu Longpré (behind) before entering court to reschedule to January.

The first court date in the prosecution of former Hudson Director General Louise Léger-Villandré was a decidedly low-key event. Scheduled to appear in court December 10 in Salaberry-de-Valleyfi eld, Léger-Villandré was represented by her lawyer Maitre Robert La Haye. La Haye met with Crown Prosecutor Mathieu Longpré before appearing before Judge Maire-Chantale Doucet to have the next court date set for January 21, 2015.

La Haye apologized to the court for being late due to weather and road conditions. In his comments after the brief court appearance, La Haye indicated Léger-Villandré, who he said will plead ‘not guilty’ to the charges against her, did not have to appear in court yesterday and that is also a possibility for the January date. La Haye also noted he had received the file from the prosecutor only within the last month and was beginning the process of evaluation.

According to La Haye, the evidence will be revealed on January 21 either in part or completely. Léger-Villandré was arrested and charged with 19 counts of fraud on October 9, following an extensive investigation by the Unité permanente anticorruption (UPAC) team. The charges include defrauding the Town of Hudson of $1.1 million. She held various positions in the town administration during her 43-year career including Town Treasurer, Town Clerk and Director General. She was also responsible for the municipal court up until the time that it was transferred out of Hudson to Valleyfield.

Léger-Villandré resigned from the town in April 2013, just as newly hired Treasurer Sylvain Bernard began looking into financial irregularities including reported omissions in at-the-source tax deductions of town employees’ pay cheques. These payroll discrepancies were brought to the attention of the town council at the time, regarding them as administrative errors.

Council then asked for the auditors’ reports going back several years and discovered they had reportedly come with recommendations that were submitted to the Director General and never seen by the mayor and council. The situation led to Interim Mayor Diane Piacente asking the mayor and council in writing for Léger-Villandré’s resignation as she had shown a serious lack of judgment.

With the DG gone by the spring of 2013, council had full access to the files and discovered unpaid business and property taxes and what appeared to be misappropriated funds, leading them to contact the Sûreté du Québec (SQ). This, in turn, prompted the UPAC investigation. According to La Haye, his client continues to live in Hudson and is in good health. Current mayor of Hudson, Ed Prévost declined to comment on the court proceeding.

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