Loto-Québec has entrusted the production of shows at the Cabaret du Casino de Montréal for 20 years to a firm, one of whose directors has had a criminal record since 1985, before wiping out this fall.
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” I do not understand. It’s beyond me, ”Mario Bazinet pleaded in vain to Loto-Quebec representatives when he learned that the Bazz Group was losing its contract at the Casino, during a meeting held on October 26, according to a recording to which our Investigation Office had. access.
The businessman, who made his name as a coach in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League during the 1980s, and the Bazz Group have been associated with the production of shows at the Casino de Montréal since 2000 .
At that time, the business ties between the Casino and Mr. Bazinet were already contrary to the requirements of the law on lotteries because he had a criminal record containing three convictions in criminal matters:
- In 1985, a fine of $ 300 for fraud;
- In 1993, a fine of $ 1,000 and two years probation after he was convicted of conspiracy to extort $ 1.2 million from the Mikes restaurant chain with two accomplices;
- In 1995, a fine of $ 300 for theft.
Contacted by our Investigation Office, Mario Bazinet did not try to hide his criminal record. Rather, he asserted that the people from the Casino who had “come [le] seek “to produce shows” knew “it too.
The president ruled
At the end of October, the crown corporation informed him that his criminal record now disqualified him as a business partner.
– Does that mean they’ve approved of me for 20 years, but they shouldn’t, is that what you’re telling me? he asked.
– Somewhere, maybe … […] This is the survey [de sécurité] of the Sûreté du Québec, replied a representative of Loto-Quebec.
– It went to the president directly, it’s rare. […] Our recommendation was that it always happened, extend [le contrat] and we won’t change anything, but the president said, “No, I can’t,” added one of her colleagues.
On paper, the president of the Bazz Group is Nathalie Le Gruiec, but her spouse, Mr. Bazinet, is “an employee necessary for the provision of services” provided for in the contract with the Société des casinos du Québec (SCQ), according to the latter. .
He was the one who gave the media interviews to promote the shows at the Casino.
The Bazz Group recently put the SCQ on notice, reminding it that it had already agreed to renew its contract until winter 2022.
Following our questions
On November 30, after questions from our Bureau of Investigation at Loto-Québec on this subject, the Société des casinos replied in writing to the Bazz Group that the contract between them ended on September 2.
“Despite discussions for the extension have taken place, the SCQ had no choice but not to extend the contract,” added a lawyer from the SCQ.
WHO IS MARIO BAZINET?
Mario Bazinet when he was a coach with the Draveurs de Trois-Rivières in 1982.
◆ Coach of five teams of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) between 1980 and 1989, he led three to the final, including the Saguenéens de Chicoutimi and their star Stéphane Richer in 1984-1985, as well as the Draveurs of Trois-Rivières in 1981-1982.
◆ The media then nicknamed him “the enfant terrible” of the QMJHL because of his escapades behind the bench which earned him a 25-game suspension in 1982, and his unusual techniques to motivate his troops, particularly in bringing a disabled child into the Saguenéens locker room, which inspired a scene from the popular Lance et Compte series.
◆ Sentenced for three criminal offenses between 1985 and 1995, he was also arrested for complicity following a police raid carried out in September 1997 against a network of traffickers and smugglers linked to the Hells Angels, but was released from all charges in 1999 .
◆ In 2000, he produced the show Life is Beautiful by artist Claude Blanchard at the Casino de Montréal, the first in a long series of events that he and the Bazz Group will organize there in 20 years.
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