From The Gazette

Hudson

Former Hudson mayor considering suing mayoral candidate for defamation

  • Former Hudson mayor Michael Elliott. “A retraction at this point in time will not be sufficient.
    Former Hudson mayor Michael Elliott. “A retraction at this point in time will not be sufficient."
    Photo credit: Gazette file photo

Former Hudson mayor Michael Elliott said he is considering legal action against mayoral candidate Jacques Bourgeois, who named Elliott and another individual as the subjects of a police investigation.

“He’s made these allegations. As far as I’m concerned, they’re not truthful. I haven’t even been interviewed, so there are no charges at this time,” Elliott said.

Bourgeois allegedly made the comments implicating Elliott and another person in the investigation at a public meeting in early October, and repeated them in two interviews with The Gazette.

“I don’t understand what (Bourgeois) has to gain from saying something like this,” Elliott said. “To me, it’s libel. And I’ve put it in the hands of my lawyer and he will take appropriate action.”

When asked if that could include legal action, Elliott replied: “A retraction at this point in time will not be sufficient.” He explained he is considering filing a lawsuit.

Bourgeois said that on at least three occasions he spoke with Sûreté du Québec Inspector Mario Lessard, who, Bourgeois said, confirmed that Elliott and another individual were under police investigation.

But Lessard said that while he did speak with Bourgeois, he never confirmed the identity of anyone under investigation.

“Mr. Bourgeois mentioned the former mayor. It’s normal that he would be met – he’s the mayor. That doesn’t mean he is a suspect in the file,” he said.

“In the next few weeks, people from the town of Hudson will be met by UPAC, that’s certain … It’s certain that there are people in the administration who will be met. But we don’t have the names and we don’t know who,” Lessard said.

Lessard said he told Bourgeois that he could find out if any criminal accusations are filed in relation to the ongoing fraud investigation by checking with the clerk at the district courthouse. That information would be public, Lessard said. But until then, the police could not confirm who was under investigation or who might be charged.

“We have not confirmed anything about that. We cannot confirm that, because, firstly, it’s UPAC who is doing the investigation … so we are not up to date on the investigation, what will happen or who will be interviewed,” Lessard said on Thursday.

“I don’t know if there are three – there could be two, one, three, four, five (people under investigation) – we don’t know. We’re not the ones doing the investigation. That’s why Mr. Bourgeois maybe went a bit too far, because I did not mention anything on this subject. And anyway I don’t know how I could have told him who was under investigation when we don’t know ourselves,” Lessard said.

Bourgeois said that he named the two because he felt that the town’s administration had not been open enough with citizens about the ongoing fraud investigation in Hudson.

He added that he did not say either would be charged or arrested – only that they were being investigated.

“We have had several council meetings where … people have gotten up and asked: ‘Where do we stand? Where do we stand?’ Well, we don’t know. We don’t know. We can’t tell you. It’s not public,” Bourgeois said.

“Well, if I call and I find out and it is public and (interim mayor Diane Piacente) is not revealing the information, I think that it is hiding public information. It’s like a breach of duty. Why would you hide public information?” Bourgeois asked.

Brenda O’Farrell of The Gazette contributed to this report.

One comment

  1. By Concerned in Hudson

    How can it be public information when the SQ themselves say that it is not? Personally I applaud the current administration, especially Mayor Piacente, not only for bringing to light decades of mis management but also for not interfering and possibly jeopardizing the police investigation. Mr. Bourgeois is grasping at straws thinking that by naming names he can somehow prove he is the right person for the position of Mayor. That dear Sir is NOT how to instill confidence. Hudson needs to wake up and hopefully not allow Mr. Bourgeois to get ahold of the keys to this town!

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