Montreal mayor promises to pay for 2003 building permit

Montreal Mayor Michael Applebaum says he'll pay the city for a building permit he should have obtained for renovation work he had done on a revenue home he purchased in 2003.

Applebaum has said he didn't realize at the time that he needed a permit.

A Radio-Canada investigation revealed earlier this week that Applebaum, a former real estate agent, bought a duplex in Villeray for $80,000 in December 2003. Four months later, he sold it for $145,000.

"He told us that he made some renovations, so we checked and we double checked if he got some permits on that," said Radio-Canada's senior investigative journalist Alain Gravel.

"His father was in charge of the work, and we checked, and we didn't find any permits."

The mayor said again today it was an honest mistake, but he promised to make amends.

"I have found out that it's $130 for the permit," Applebaum said. "On Monday — or Tuesday at the latest — I will be writing a cheque to the City of Montreal clearing up what I did."

Applebaum spoke to reporters following a speech to Montreal business leaders at the city's Board of Trade.

He told his audience he understands Montrealers' feelings of disgust and betrayal, but he says it's time for Montrealers to get over their frustrations about corruption.

He said the nearly daily revelations at the Charbonneau corruption inquiry of bad behaviour by politicians, bureaucrats, consulting engineers and construction entrepreneurs are shaking the city's confidence and placing everyone under suspicion.

"You have to be careful what restaurants you go to," said the mayor, "or you might find yourself linked to the Mafia."

"I say whoa, let's not get out of hand. You can't exaggerate all this," he added.

Applebaum points out that most of the allegations raised by witnesses at the Charbonneau commission refer to events that happened before 2009.

He contends things are different now, and if Montreal is to succeed, it's time to accentuate the positive.

"I invite Montrealers to watch a little less television and take a big breath of fresh air," Applebaum said.

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