|Jean Charest gave his first speech since his resignation in Toronto Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013. (CHARLES-ANTOINE ROUYER/QMI AGENCY)
QUEBEC CITY - Documents obtained by QMI Agency reveal ties between a Mafia-linked construction contractor and former premier Jean Charest.
Charest and at least 21 of his cabinet ministers donated a total of $60,000 to Garnierkids.com, say the documents.
The children's charity was co-founded by Giuseppe "Joe" Borsellino, owner of Garnier Construction, a longtime Liberal donor.
Borsellino told a corruption inquiry Thursday that he attended the wedding of Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto's son Leonardo and was once severely beaten by people he suspects were mobsters.
When the Liberals took power in 2003, ministers began using their discretionary spending powers to move public funds to Borsellino's foundation, say the documents.
At least five ministers, including Charest, contributed more than once to Garnierkids.com. Charest gave a total of $4,000 to the charity.
His onetime justice and public security minister, Jacques Dupuis, was the biggest donor at $15,000.
Nathalie Normandeau, Charest's deputy premier until her mysterious resignation in 2011, donated $13,500.
A former Liberal minister who wouldn't give his name said he and his colleagues were heavily solicited by cabinet mate Tony Tomassi. "No question about it, it was Tony," said the ex-minister.
He said ministers would often use discretionary spending accounts to donate money to charities in a colleague's riding.
"We didn't ask questions, we trusted our colleagues."
Tomassi's trustworthiness is in doubt.
Charest booted the Montreal MNA from the Liberal caucus in May 2010 amid a spending scandal.