"He hasn't been found guilty so it's tough to say but anytime you have these allegations against you, it certainly doesn't reflect well on the industry if he was found guilty. I wouldn't expect he'd be able to keep his license if that was the case," said John Deakin, a broker and co-founder of Deakin Realty in Montreal.
The comments come as Michael Applebaum, the former mayor of Cote-Des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-De-Grace, who served as a borough mayor for a decade (2002-2012) entered preliminary hearings earlier this week after being charged with corruption and fraud for his part in a scandal during his time as mayor.
His history as a politician has been well-documented, serving first a city councillor before ultimately rising through the ranks to become a borough mayor and then later in 2012, the mayor of Montreal. He was the first Anglophone to hold the post in over a century.
Things started out well for the former real estate agent-turned-mayor as he cut taxes and transit fares, earning favours but things quickly changed for the worse.
Le Devoir, a French newspaper, reported an investigation into Applebaum’s dealings over a real estate transaction in Cote-Des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-De-Grace, to which he denied any involvement.
A month after allegations surfaced, UPAC, the province’s anti-corruption squad raided Montreal City Hall. In June 2013, UPAC arrested Applebaum at his home – less than a year after becoming mayor and vowing to tackle corruption.
But what’s most interesting to the case is his experience as a real estate agent before he got involved in politics. After resigning as mayor following a series of corruption scandals, Applebaum started working as a real estate broker again in 2014.
Despite the allegations against him, it hasn’t stopped him from being a real estate broker, or deterred many from working with him, according to the CBC.
"He is a real estate broker with a valid license. Why should I not hire him?" Salvatore Sansalone said, the director of Imagine Realty, who hired Applebaum after his stint as mayor. “Everybody has to eat and make a living and the allegations haven’t been proven. We’ve gotten more compliments about his work than backlash.”
A case against former Montreal mayor accused of bribery and corruption in real estate scandals has agents weighing in on the effect a guilty verdict could have on the industry.