Jake Skinner. (File photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News.)

Complaint filed against TVDSB trustee Jake Skinner

A formal complaint has been filed against Thames Valley District School Board Trustee Jake Skinner, whose PR firm has been linked to websites that aimed to smear two municipal candidates during last fall’s election.

Fellow school board trustee Corrine Rahman levelled the code of conduct complaint against Skinner after he held an informal news conference at the board office prior to a budget meeting Tuesday night.

“In my opinion, in submitting a formal complaint, I have followed our procedure to request an inquiry into the actions of Trustee Skinner. It is important to me, to stand up for what I believe in and set a good example for students,” Rahman said in a statement to Blackburn News.

She provided no details about the complaint or what behaviour of Skinner’s led her to file it.

The board’s code of conduct requires trustees to act in “a manner that will inspire public confidence in the abilities and integrity of the board.” School board chair Arlene Morell is now tasked with determining whether the complaint warrants an investigation.

Skinner co-owns political consulting firm Blackridge Strategy with Amir Farahi.

According to documents released through a court order last month, Farahi was linked to the registration and payment of site domains maureencassidy.ca and virginiaridley.ca. The websites attacked incumbent city councillors, Maureen Cassidy and Virginia Ridley, as they ran for reelection in the 2018 civic vote. The online attacks included child abuse allegations against Ridley for bringing her young son to an extended Saturday budget meeting and harsh criticism of Cassidy for her extramarital affair with former mayor Matt Brown.

Less than a week after the documents were made public, Blackridge Strategy released a statement insisting the information on the websites was “factual, reflective of City Hall meeting minutes that are accessible to the public as well as verified, responsible reporting.”

While Cassidy was successful in reclaiming her Ward 5 seat, Ridely was defeated in Ward 10 by Paul Van Meerbergen.

Blackburn News has reached out to Jake Skinner and Arlene Morell for comment but as of publication has not received a response.