Even an alleged conflict of interest

Félix Séguin ,
Jean-François Cloutier ,
Philippe Langlois and
Andrea Valeria

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The big boss of Otéra Capital has been referred to in the last year by allegations of conflict of interest from the company providing the goods of the catholic Church of Montreal.

Alfonso Graceffa was temporarily removed of his duties on Friday after a Bureau investigation had revealed that his own companies had obtained loans totaling nearly$ 10 Million from a company owned by Otera.

The CEO of the Otera, the real estate financing subsidiary of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, is not his first trouble ethical.

Alfonso Graceffa, boss of a subsidiary of the Caisse de dépôt, has been the subject of allegations of conflict of interest arising from its dual role as administrator to the mutual insurance Company into a Church and of a real estate consultant for the Archdiocese.

In a dispute that the financial markets Authority (AMF) has followed closely, the insurer of the parishes and dioceses, has filed a lawsuit in February 2018 to dismiss Alfonso Graceffa and another of its directors, alleging that they were in a conflict of interest.

According to the request of the mutual insurance Company into a Church (CMAÉ), the patron of Otéra has violated its code of conduct covering the responsibilities he held in the Corporation real property of the Archdiocese of Montreal (CIAM).

The diocese has founded this company to advise Archbishop Christian Lépine in the management of real property of the Church, which are insured by the CMAÉ, where the allegations of conflicts of interest.

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Devastating report

The mutual has finally withdrawn her lawsuit after an agreement out of court, but it has filed a confidential report of the law firm of Woods, which was critical of the attitude of Alfonso Graceffa and another officer, Ferdinand Alfieri.

The report concludes that they probably had the intention to “hide” the CMAÉ their function as a council with the archbishop.

The two directors have also participated in votes on conflict of interest allegations which concerned them.

They have, however, disputed these claims in court and asked a judge to declare that they were not in a conflict of interest.

In an e-mail to our Bureau of investigation, Alfonso Graceffa persists. “I refused to remove me, since the circumstances was not justified and that I was not in a conflict of interest, as outlined in the procedures. “

Him and the Archdiocese argue both that it has been appointed a director by error and that, in fact, it is only a “member” of the CIAM, as an adviser, a volunteer for the parishes that need assistance in the management of their ” heritage real estate “.

However, minutes of board meetings of the CIAM filed with the court indicate that it has participated in the meetings as a ” member director “.

Supported by the Archdiocese

The Archdiocese of Montreal has put all its weight for the CMAÉ maintain Alfonso Graceffa and Ferdinand Alfieri in position.

In a statement in court, the diocese says that the two directors ” are not in a conflict of interest in the exercise of their functions “.

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The allegations against them were, however, disrupted the smooth running of CA. To such a point that the AMF, which monitors insurance companies, has met with the administrators in January 2018 for their order to solve their problems.

Finally, the Archdiocese was successful and Alfonso Graceffa is left in position. For their part, the director-general and the president of the board of directors of the CMAÉ, who had tried to get his departure, have been replaced.
Today, our recent revelations about Alfonso Graceffa cause other issues.

“It is of course that we are following this very closely, said Gabriel Groulx, chair of the board of the CMAÉ. We’re certainly going to have a meeting, the CA and the ethics committee in the very near future.”

You have information about the Caisse and its subsidiaries ? Contact me at 438 396-5546 or hugo.joncas@quebecormedia.com

What was criticized Alfonso Graceffa

  • Alfonso Graceffa and Ferdinand Alfieri would have refused to withdraw from the discussion at three meetings of the board of directors of the CMAÉ in 2017, then that it was a question of allegations of conflicts of interest against them.
  • “Rather than withdraw from the deliberations, MR. Graceffa and Alfieri have participated, have tried to influence the decision relating thereto “, according to a report by the law firm of Woods.
  • The two men would have voted “twice” against resolutions aimed to expose these conflicts of interest and to trigger an ethics investigation on this subject.
  • The lawyer who drafted the document, Patrick Ouellet, wrote that they were probably ” not the qualities required to continue to hold their office of director “.
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The mutual insurance Company into a church

  • Founded in 1853.
  • It is the mutual, which ensures the properties of parishes, dioceses and other catholic organizations in the south of Québec : churches, cathedrals, basilicas, monasteries, convents, land, etc
  • It has 700 members and 560 congregations and 40 catholic institutions, but also 60 organizations of other christian confessions.