Four emails alleging sexual impropriety by a civic official are at the centre of controversy and a court battle over defamation.
Last month, the emails were sent to District of Mission Mayor Ted Adlem, various candidates and senior District of Mission managers.
The emails allege sexual impropriety and threaten exposure if Adlem doesn't step aside in the upcoming election, leaving the mayoral race to the other candidates.
The emails are now the focus of a defamation lawsuit filed by the mayor in B.C. Supreme Court, however, it's unclear who sent them. The defendants are identified simply as John Doe 1 and John Doe 2.
Lawyer ElyssaLockhart has been retained by Adlem and she said the unsubstantiated allegations are harmful to her client.
"Mayor Adlem has owned and operated a business in Mission for a good number of years... he is the sitting mayor. These allegations were repugnant to him and he denied them immediately," she said.
Former councillor denies sending emails
Eventually, the defamation suit led to the revelation of the IP addresses from which the emails were sent.
They led to the home of former Mission councillor Ron Taylor, who said neither he nor anyone in his house sent the emails.
"They did not come from any account of mine," Taylor said.
Taylor said some of the emails do appear to have come through his router, and that could be possible because he rebooted it at some point and the factory default password was in place for some time afterward.
"They emanated from my router... Rather like you going into an internet cafe. It really is the same process... Somebody could access that by simply parking outside my house," Taylor said.
Taylor said he was served court papers that indicate there was more than one IP address attached to the emails.
Adlem said that he didn't believe that Taylor acted on his own.
"I believe we're dealing with a group of individuals that have broken the law. I would simply like to see the law come forward and deal with them," Adlem said.
But Taylor, denying his involvement, said he believes someone is targeting them both.
"I have my share of political enemies in town, as does Mayor Adlem," he said. "As far as I can see here, somebody went to a great deal of trouble to set me up."
Opponent outraged at accusations
Former MLA and former mayor of Mission Randy Hawes, who is running for mayor against Adlem and other candidates, denied any involvement and said he didn't appreciate having aspersions cast on him.
"I've served here for 21 years and I think I've served with as much honour as I could muster. I've never been accused of impropriety ever," he said
"First time in my life I've ever felt dirty in a campaign, and it's not me that's putting out the dirt."
Hawes said the district has seen a particularly nasty election campaign season.
Mission RCMP have confirmed an investigation has been launched.
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