Ex-Montreal mayor Applebaum sentenced to one year in jail

Michael Applebaum also received two years' probation on corruption-related charges

MONTREAL – Former Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum was sentenced Thursday to one year behind bars on corruption-related charges and then promised he would emerge a better man when released.

He also received two years’ probation.

Applebaum, 54, was handcuffed before he addressed the court and told the judge he would be a model inmate.

“I’ll reflect on what I’ve done in the past,” said Applebaum, who did not testify at his trial. “I will also reflect on what I will do in the future.

“I guarantee, guarantee that I will be a model prisoner. I will be a good person and I will do what I have to do.”

He also thanked his “remarkable” family.

“One day, when I get out … I will make a life for my family and when I say that, I mean that I will put food on the table.”

His lawyer, Pierre Teasdale, told reporters the sentence was “in accordance with what we might have expected.”

Asked whether his client had expected to be sent to jail, he replied, “He had been warned (that possibility) wasn’t to be excluded.”

The charges stemmed from two separate deals between 2007 and 2010 when Applebaum was mayor of the city’s largest borough.

Applebaum was found guilty of pocketing about $37,000 in kickbacks from developers and engineering firms through his former aide.

The prosecution had sought a two-year prison sentence followed by two years’ probation after his conviction in January on eight charges.

Teasdale had countered with a recommendation of either a suspended sentence or a mixed sentence that could include probation, community work and non-consecutive jail time.

The maximum sentence was five years.

Applebaum served as interim mayor of Montreal between November 2012 and June 2013 after a lengthy political career at the municipal level.

His criminal case centred on the testimony of a former aide, Hugo Tremblay, who said the longtime local politician introduced him to illicit fundraising.

During the trial, Tremblay testified he led developers and businessmen to believe their projects would be delayed or not approved unless they made a supplemental cash contribution.

The charges involved two projects — a student residence and an aquatic centre.

The court heard the total amount sought for the two projects was $60,000, which Tremblay testified was then split with Applebaum.

Teasdale argued the Crown witnesses testified against his client in an effort to save their own skin.

Witnesses at his sentencing hearing said Applebaum has endured tremendous hardship since his fall from grace.

Because of the notoriety surrounding his case, Applebaum has struggled to work in real estate.

His family and his rabbi also expressed concerns about his physical and mental health.

Teasdale confirmed in late February there would be no appeal of the conviction.

Looking for more?

Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.