Toronto municipal candidate says Blackridge offered to smear his opponent
Published Saturday, June 1, 2019 6:22PM EDT
Another voice is speaking out in the Blackridge Strategy scandal.
A 2018 Toronto municipal candidate says he was offered the option of a smear campaign against his opponent by Blackridge.
Kyle Ashley, known in Toronto as a safe streets advocate, and former employee of Toronto Police, says when he chose to run for office last fall in the ward of Don Valley West, he employed Blackridge to help with the logistics of his campaign.
"They offered me the world. They said they would help me win this election,” says Ashley. “They offered me services and complete campaign management."
In August he says he received a call from Blackridge's Amir Farahi.
"Amir offered us up a graphic to disseminate around the ward. It was a mock up smear campaign toward the incumbent who ended up winning the campaign."
Ashley says he chose not to attack his opponent, or her gender.
"From Day 1 they wanted to attack hard, and made it clear that the only way to win was dragging down the other candidate, rather than lifting myself up."
We reached out by phone to Farahi Saturday for his reaction, but the call went to voicemail.
Farahi is accused of creating fake websites that smeared London councillors Maureen Cassidy and Virginia Ridley.
Opponents Randy Warden and Paul Van Meerbergen employed Blackridge but both deny they were offered a similar campaign tactic.
Van Meerbergen told CTV News Friday that he has no knowledge of a smear campaign.
“We were very clear in what we wanted and what was delivered,” says the Ward 10 councillor. “That was Facebook and our campaign ad. I’m not here to say whether they are guilty or not guilty because I was not part of it.”
Ashley says he still owes some money to Blackridge.
"I signed a contract for $9,500 and because my campaign did not raise that much money I have not paid them back in full yet. Here I am at this point, I owe them for things they never delivered."
Farahi has previously denied any involvement in the fake websites.