Cold calls, condolence cards: how Mob used intimidation to control construction

The Canadian Press

MONTREAL - Quebec's public inquiry is hearing today about how the Italian Mafia used its muscle to maintain control of the construction industry in Montreal.

An out-of-town construction owner says he received multiple threats after bidding on work in Montreal.

The Quebec City man, Martin Carrier, says he got a phone call at home in 2004. His daughter answered the phone and passed it to him.

On the other end of the line was a man with a heavy Italian accent. He warned him to stop working in the city. Carrier received a similar call later, where the man expressed anger that he hadn't listened.

And finally, he received a condolence card by courier at his office. The card read: "Dear friend, stop bidding in Montreal. If not, your family will receive a card just like this one. Final warning."

He reported the initial phone call to police near Quebec City. The RCMP later came to visit him and told him that they'd recorded that call. They said the caller was Francesco Del Balso, one of the senior-most members of the Rizzuto crime family and one of the family's enforcers.

At the end of his testimony today, Carrier was saluted by inquiry chair France Charbonneau.

"I thank you, and I congratulate you for your extraordinary courage," she said.