• Carmen Marie Fabio

Louise Léger-Villandré expected in court to face fraud charges Thursday, March 26 Lawyer Maitre Robe


JAMES PARRY

Former Hudson Director General Louise Léger Villandré’s lawer, Maitre Robert La Haye leaves the Salaberry Courthouse with the news that the case is convened until March 26.

Stressing that legal proceedings against former Hudson Director General Louise Léger-Villandré were still in the “very early stages,” her lawyer, Maitre Robert La Haye, will be back in the Salaberry-de-Valleyfield Courthouse on Thursday, March 26, for a proforma hearing at which his client will officially plead either ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’ to 19 counts of fraud.

This following a two-minute hearing in Courtroom No. 1 yesterday (January 21) at which Léger-Villandré was not present, as was the case with her first scheduled appearance on December 10, 2014. “I only received the prosecution’s full disclosure this morning,” La Haye told Your Local Journal outside the courtroom.

“It is an extensive file going back as it does over so many years and involving so many different charges. “I now have to study and analyze it, discuss it with my client, and determine how exactly we are going to proceed from there.”

Asked whether he was concerned about having received the disclosure that very morning, La Haye replied, “Not at all. It is completely normal and it is how the system proceeds.” Outside the courtroom, Crown Prosecutor Mathieu Longpré agreed that it was indeed an extensive file that included checking by accountants of figures not made public to date.

Asked why Léger-Villandré - who has previously said she intends to plead ‘not guilty’ to the charges - was not in court yesterday. La Haye said it was not necessary for her to be there. At the December hearing La Haye said he had only received the file from the prosecution within the last month and was beginning the process of evaluation. “Once I have studied this new document, I will now be sitting down with my client to fully prepare for our next court date on March 26,” he said before driving back to Montreal.

It was on October 9 last year that Léger-Villandré, who held various positions in the town administration during her 43-year career including Town Treasurer and Town Clerk, DG and, up until the time it was transferred out of Hudson, was also responsible for the municipal court, for which, according to current Mayor Ed Prévost, she drew an additional salary even after its transfer to Valleyfield.

She was officially charged with the 19 counts, including defrauding the Town of Hudson of $1.1 million. This followed an extensive investigation by the Unité permanente anti-corruption (UPAC) team, one that is reportedly still ongoing, though to a lesser degree. “It’s a UPAC prosecution case and the town is not party to it,” said Mayor Prévost reached following yesterday’s court date. “Our only part was supplying as much information as we could find based on their requests,” he said “Our involvement ends there.”

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