'Anti-corruption' mayoral candidate removes confidential letter posted to Facebook page

A Yellowknife mayoral candidate says he didn't post a confidential city hall letter on his Facebook page, but said whoever did is "a hero."

The letter was written in 2014 by a lawyer who investigated a complaint about bullying, harassment and other inappropriate behaviour in the city's municipal enforcement division. It details allegations a former bylaw officer levelled against manager Doug Gillard and others in the division.

The letter was posted on Jerald Sibbeston's Facebook page early Saturday.

When asked how the letter got onto his page, Sibbeston said, "I have no idea and I don't want to speculate. I think someone out there is a hero and quite simply had enough of the shenanigans that have been going on at the city."

Anyone can post messages on his Facebook page, Sibbeston said. The letter was posted by someone using the alias "thegodmustbecrazy."

'Anti-corruption' candidate

Sibbeston brands himself as an "anti-corruption" candidate for mayor. He suggests two current city councillors he's running against must have seen the letter long ago. Adrian Bell and Rebecca Alty were city councillors in 2014.

"This proves that the old council covered up the whole … affair," Sibbeston wrote in a Facebook post accompanying the letter, before reposting it several times. "My competitors KNEW about this and did NOTHING."

But one of those competitors, Adrian Bell, said that's not true.

"The first time I saw those details was in January of this year, and that's what led me to pretty much instantly bring forward a motion for the launch of the official inquiry," Bell said.

"I think Mr. Sibbeston was lashing out. He acted impulsively."

Sharing letter re-victimized people, says Bell

Bell said he believes Sibbeston re-victimized some people at city hall by posting the letter because, although names are blacked out, the people referred to are identifiable from information in the letter.

Katie Toth/CBC

"People want justice, and that's completely understandable," Bell said. "But it can't be sought to the detriment of people who may have been victimized by other people's actions and who are blameless."

A day after the letter was posted on Sibbeston's page and reposted by him on other Facebook pages, the city published a message on its Facebook page saying the letter should not have been made public because the allegations are "sensitive."

The city's message said councillors had no involvement in the investigation of the 2014 complaint, and it was handled by city staff.

Councillors did not see the city's message before it was posted, Bell said. He said it was "ludicrous" to suggest the sensitivity of an issue alone would be enough to withhold information about it from the public.

Sibbeston said he removed the letter from his Facebook page and the other places he had reposted it on Sunday night. He was worried about being sued, he said.

"At first I was really excited and happy and actually did promote the post a little bit. But I kind of thought better," said Sibbeston. "I thought it would just be safer to take it down."