Now that Hudson’s former town manager is behind bars for 30 months (we can discount that by half and maybe more under various jailtime reduction plans, and yes, they can be combined) one hopes the current administration will come to realize there’s no point in continuing to beat a dead horse.
I’m assuming the town carries insurance for the $1.1 million Louise Villandré admitted to having stolen. I asked DG Jean-Pierre Roy that question at the January council meeting. He didn’t seem to know and said he would get back to me (he hasn’t). We can hope.
More to the point is the way the mayor and council carry on about the bag of troubles they inherited as an excuse for why they can’t move forward. Mom used to call it the Crown of Thorns Syndrome: it’s your fault I’m a failure. To her credit, Villandré never blamed her crime spree on how, when her husband was dying of kidney failure, she had been approved as a donor, only to have it discovered as they were prepping her that she had breast cancer. It all happened about the time when she supposedly began cutting herself cheques. Others accused of far more heinous crimes have been declared not guilty by reason of insanity.
Most of us are guilty of blamecasting in moments of weakness and despair, but it makes for a lousy municipal mission statement. If/when we fail, it’s not our fault, so get off our backs. Drop the blame crutch, folks. Move on.
The way I figure it, Villandré should be out of prison next October, about the time Hudson residents are preparing to decide who their next mayor and council will be. All the more reason why this administration should stop wasting time and money on peripherals, such as sanctimonious mission statements, implausible strategic plans and threatening to sue anyone who steps out of line. They should concentrate on getting the town back on track, which means hearing what people have to say and not just pretending to listen.
Above all, they should give public recognition to the contributions of their predecessors, and yes, that includes the selfless Louise Villandré – until a combination of tragedy and temptation triggered something I’ll never understand. To err is human; to forgive is divine.
9 thoughts on “Thirty months”
There has never been a reason to delay any action because of this criminal prosecution and conviction.
I think the sentence is just, and I have said before that Hudson failed her by our lack of oversight, so we’re all responsible for not just the start of this, but the long continuation. . She will live with no respect and the consequences of a personal bankruptcy and a felony record including seizure of her assets by Revenu Quebec, and if she ever looks like she has a spare dime someone will investigate. Hell on earth.
We should have, as a town, simply presumed nothing would never be recovered, set a small committee to try to recover, but simply function as if it’s gone.
We’re currently spending more per month on legal fees than she stole from us on average. That’s one we might actually be able to do something about.
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I might add that it is important to re-build trust in adopting a managment style and accountability system that ensure that fraud of any scale and duration is discovered rapidly and addressed, appropriately no matter the position of the person or their tie to the community.
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I don’t like this article one bit, I believe a personal friendship is at play here. It has the same tone of the dying days of the Hudson Gazette when this story first began to break.. Louise “retired”. Every article.. Louise “Retired”. No she didn’t, and that’s a crock. Now, it seems you are suggesting that maybe she should have plead insanity because of all the hardships she’s had to deal with.. is this a justification for everyone that has to deal with death, they should just start stealing from the till? This is almost as bad as Henshaw’s last letter stating she should be rehired by the town, but this time “No stealing, please”.
Look, I get you’ve been long time friends, but 1.1 million dollars, tax payer dollars, has gone missing. For all we know it could be more, the documents past a certain year have been shredded. Maybe we should tell all the people in the west end to “move on” when they look for improvements to city services, a water line etc. Let’s tell all Hudson residents to “move on” when we don’t have money to pave roads. Let’s tell lower whitlock, brisbane, and birchill residents to “move on” as they continue to look for funds to join the sewer system and put and end to the rampant, stagnant water.
Ill move on when I get my money back and assholes like Le Haye… who oddly used to be the Hudson municipal court judge… aren’t saying.. “no more.. all gone.. maybe a few trips”
Wrong on all counts, Kev. Louise Villandre and I were never friends. She didn’t appreciate it one bit when I wrote a series of stories about how she couldn’t explain why the town was better off financing borrowing bylaws with bridge loans instead of rolling them over into long-term financing. I got nothing but flak from three mayors and dozens of residents who wondered why I was trying to make trouble. You seem to be saying the Hudson Gazette protected Villandre. The only thing I have a problem with is the lynch mob mentality that says we should shoot the survivors because they were around back then.
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Kevin misses the liability risk of the press, and the right everyone has to be presumed innocent until proven guilty as well as the timeline.
At the time Louise Villandre “retired” there were no charges or evidence presented against her and no formal request from council for her to resign. The only choice was to say “retired” or risk lawsuit.
Once charges were finally laid after many months of UPAC investigation, you’d still be responsibly required to call her the “alleged criminal” at least until she was proven guilty or actually pleads guilty.
I personally blame all of Hudson citizens as partly responsible. We, as a community, failed to provide adequate oversight to prevent fraud, not once, but for many years in a row.
I was paying attention and brought many of Hudson’s shortcomings to attention in some of my columns, and as a result was regularly attacked behind my back for criticizing our “Perfect Little Town”. I was written off by many as an angry crank with a grudge.
Based on my own review of about 10 years of Hudson budgets, I wrote the column titled “While Hudson was Sleeping” which again drew very angry flak my way but that some will credit for clearly forcing at least some of the scrutiny that finally brought the then mayor’s resignation.
Hudson needs to begin taking responsibility for most of where we are today and learn from past mistakes. One bad apple didn’t bring us here by herself. She helped, but was enabled by an attitude of superiority, invincibility and indifference to the changing political world around us were major contributors to our downhill slide. We acclaimed more mayors and councillors than we elected, and then we never seem to be able to come to consensus because every special interest wants the first dollar before they support any other getting one.
Kevin, you are one of the rare and valuable citizens of Hudson who pays attention, participates and speaks your mind. We need about 5,000 more active participants than we have most days.
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On February 22 I watched the news clip of Madame Louise Leger Villandre receive her jail sentence of thirty months for the crime of dipping her hands in town coffers. My instant reaction was disassociation; it was as if watching a surreal movie of a unbeknown town, not dear Hudson of good memories.
Why did I do that?
It is kinder to oneself to dump blame elsewhere but that doesn’t make for a good long term health plan. Sure we can sling the whole mud mess from soup to nuts on Madame Louise Leger Villandree because after all the court ruled it was a single handed criminal act. True of false?
Fact is some folks knew along the way something wasn’t quite right, couldn’t put there figure on it and questioned it no further. Sad because Madame Louise Leger Villandre would be in a better place today had her stealing been discovered earlier and professional help sought. And by default, so would the Town of Hudson.
While it is true she stole the million plus dollars and citizens have every right to yell, scream and curse, she was entitled to community care and didn’t get it.. Whether intentionally or unintentionally those who did detect some signs of wrong doing failed to act upon it, myself included. Stealing is not considered normal behaviour. Madame Louise Leger Villandree needed professional medical help.
In her day, Madame Louise Leger Villandre posed a strong figure. Must confess, feared to approach her. In one particular small fund raising incident, under her auspice, the town management of funds made me uncomfortable. Instead of seeking discreet conversation with Madame Villandree’s Mayor or MInister, I shrugged it off. Simply classified it as a misdemeanour, made peace with my personal code of ethics- bad idea!, changed directions, turned my head away from looking at details and under the table it went. Herein lies my true confession for I have sinned. Et toi Brutus ?
The word community is synonymous with pride of place. While Madame Louise Leger Villandree’s history not to be proud of, lesson learned are nothing to be ashamed of. Under the proper conditions townsfolk will heal. Hundsonites are tenacious, resilient and compassionate people. Custodian hand over on many fronts is taken seriously. lesson be learned
Peter, I’ve memorized your columns, all of them, from front to back and back to front. I think you should be the next person to start a blog. I liked every single one of them, you are like Hudson’s own Barry Wilson.
My comment wasn’t wrong on all counts. Like I said on facebook this afternoon.. This isn’t a pack of Life Savers someone has pocketed, at 1.19 a pop. Louise didn’t steal a Popsicle from Vairete Hudson. This is hard earned and honestly spent taxpayers money, that people paid to the town in good faith. WE KNOW of 1.1 million dollars that has disappeared, I was told by someone it could be up to 25 million! That might be a bit fantastic, but we cant un-shred documents. So, considering that people’s money has been unknowingly vanishing over the last x amount of years, I’m okay with the DG spending my money knowingly to try and claw back every cent that was taken from me, us, unknowingly. Why? The town needs to deliver a message. THEFT is not tolerated in any form at any point. If a kid gets a lecture for stealing a chocolate bar, what should happen to the person who just stole one million Mr. Bigs?
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Thanks for being a fan. I grant you your wish for a week or two I will be blogging here
I’m not surprised that I agree with you, We do need to at least show that we will aggressively hunt and recover what we can. Given that our town budgets were 6-8 million most of those years and about 40% of it is downloads which no one can steal, the 25 million number is several extra laps of the Hudson Hyperbolic Rumour mill. Total loss exceeds the money she took because we lost a bunch to penalties for not handling deductions at source, other issues, the costs of the tied up grants. I wouldn’t be surprised if it were another million over whatever she took.
Because a lot of people made donations directly to the town, Diane and I tried numerous times to get a detailed accounting of the James Ratcliffe Scholarship fund and have never succeeded. Just one example.
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Sorry Kevin , that 25 million number might have come from me (in as Peter suggests ,one too many times around the rumour speedway) in one of my ill-advised forays into satire.
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