- Accesum and the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal are contemplating legal action against the journalist and the newspaper
"There's neither waste nor tutelage," maintained the representatives of both organizations
Montreal, May 15, 2000 "The Journal de Montreal published this morning under the by-line of journalist André Beauvais, a veritable web of lies regarding the management of Accesum, the general partner of Stationnement de Montréal," stated Luc Lacharité, executive vice-president of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, and Mtre. Nicolle Forget, president of Accesum Inc.
"The articles by the municipal reporter were intended to set the stage for today's submission by the City of Montreal's Audit Office of a report containing comments on Stationnement de Montréal and Accesum," said Mr. Lacharité and Mtre. Forget. However, the headlines of the various articles, as well as most of the statements within, are false. By publishing two full pages of false allegations, with front-page mention, both the journalist and the newspaper seriously undermined the credibility of the people unjustly targeted by these statements and the organizations they represent.
"Consequently, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and Accesum will be consulting with their legal advisors as to possible recourses against the journalist and the newspaper, including legal action.
Some of the lies:
Among the most flagrant lies stated in the Journal de Montreal articles, the representatives of the two organizations underscored the following:
1- Stationnement de Montréal is not a waste. As a journalist, Beauvais himself reported that this private/public partnership has already brought in over $100 million to the City of Montreal over the past five years. In fact, over the 30 years currently provided for in the agreement between the City of Montreal and the Board of Trade, the City stands to receive over $1 billion.
The purchase price of Stationnement itself generated revenues of $60 million for the City in 1995.
2- Stationnement de Montréal and Accesum are in no way under supervision. On the contrary, the steering committee set up by the City of Montreal was in response to Accessum's desire to deal with the City through a single channel. This highly effective mechanism has since its implementation facilitated relations between the City and its partner.
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and its subsidiary Accessum are still independent owners and managers of public parking operations on and off Montreal's streets.
3- In 1999, Stationnement de Montréal paid the City of Montreal $10.8 million and not $1.5 million. Indeed, there is no basis for the reporter's allegation in this regard, since he himself reported accurate figures during the publication of SCSM's financial statements just one month ago.
4- The president of Accesum, Mtre. Nicolle Forget, never undertook to work as a volunteer president. Given the amount of work she devotes to this organization, her fees are modest and in line with all the requirements of the partnership agreement between the City of Montreal, the Board of Trade and Accesum. Furthermore, these fees were approved by the organization's board of directors, on which all the parties are represented.
5- The bankruptcy of Parcoflex in 1999 did not affect many people, at least not in a significant way. The total amount of this bankruptcy, which the partners lamented, represented only 1.3% of Stationnement de Montréal's annual revenues for the two years affected by this closure.
Beyond that, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and Accesum explained themselves publicly and with all the necessary transparency on the subject of this failure in a highly technical document, including at press conferences during which pertinent information was made public. André Beauvais has said nothing new on this matter save for malicious allegations.
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and Accesum Inc. will respond tomorrow to the City auditor's comments at a press conference as soon as the City of Montreal administration has made its own comments public.
In the interim, the two organizations consider it reprehensible that such falsehoods were published in a widely read daily, and as a result, are contemplating appropriate recourses.
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has more than 7 000 members. Its mission is to be the leading group representing the interests of the Greater Montreal business community. The objectives are to maintain, at all times, relevance to its membership, credibility towards the public and influence towards government and decision-makers.