The nasty written attacks on former Department of National Defence public affairs officer John Dacombe and his spouse Wanda Thompson, also a former government spokesperson, were made on Facebook and in emails from the councillor’s official city account.
Mr. Dacombe gave more than 26 years’ service to his country, first as a member of the regular Canadian Forces and then for the Department of National Defence.
Ms. Thompson spent more than 31 years in the Federal Government, much of it at senior levels serving ministers and deputy ministers in various departments.
“Mercenary killing machine”
In a Facebook post published to almost 5,000 people, the caustic councillor falsely accused Mr. Dacombe of being “connected to the mercenary killing machine Blackwater.”
He made the shocking allegation based on a 2012 news article in which Mr. Dacombe, speaking on behalf of Canada’s Defence Department, was merely explaining why the military had trained some of its soldiers at a facility run by the controversial US defence company.
But instead of apologizing or deleting his baseless allegation, Mr. Fuller then ramped up his venomous attack on the couple.
In an email copied to all of council and some staff members, Mr. Fuller mocked their relationship.
He suggested they were having marital troubles because they have separate email accounts and copied each other on their correspondence with council.
When News Nanaimo challenged Mr. Fuller to explain his insulting email yesterday, he fired off a new one to council and Ms. Thompson.
“I could be wrong re relationship issues and it could just be because of a dominant/submissive relationship and you are not allowed to pose questions without keeping him (Mr. Dacombe) informed,” wrote the councillor to Ms. Thompson.
“Are you two connected”
Mr. Fuller’s vitriolic barrage was set in motion by councillor Jim Kipp.
Responding to emailed questions from Mr. Dacombe on Jan. 31, Mr. Kipp replied to the couple by including text from two news articles quoting them as government spokespeople.
“Are you two connected to the following articles I have embedded about cannor and the mercinary (sic) killing machine black water (sic)?,” wrote Mr. Kipp.
Cannor is the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, for which Ms. Thompson was formerly a government spokesperson.
When asked by News Nanaimo if he routinely probes the backgrounds of residents who write to council, Mr. Kipp responded with one of his trademark rants.
Among other things, he said: “Are you so daft to conclude that I should not know whom I’m dealing with as duty of diligence?”
Post sparks uproar
Three days later, Mr. Fuller repeated Mr. Kipp’s Blackwater allegation when he made a post to the 4,790 members of the popular A Better Nanaimo group on Facebook.
The post sparked an uproar, with dozens of people lambasting the councillor for attacking a resident.
The Blackwater allegation was repeated in a comment on another discussion by Cathy Haines, a close friend of Mr. Fuller’s and a fellow director of the Nanaimo 7-10 Club Society.
Ms. Haines has also refused to apologize to Mr. Dacombe.
When News Nanaimo contacted Mr. Fuller to ask if he would apologize, he ignored the question and aimed his venom at this reporter.
“Mr. Jones you can say it a thousand times and perhaps you even believe it but you are not and never will be anything more than a tabloid blogger. Paying taxes on your added income I hope,” he wrote in one email.
Then yesterday after Ms. Thompson again emailed council with her comments about the council’s affairs, Mr. Fuller responded with the insults about her and Mr. Dacombe’s relationship.
That finally prompted councillor Diane Brennan to intervene last night.
In an email to Ms. Thompson she said it made her “sick” that her council colleague had sent the email. It was “even more egregious” that he had used the city’s email, she added.
“I can only speak for myself, but I am so sorry you have received this awful message,” Ms. Brennan wrote to Ms. Thomson.
Ms. Thompson said mayor Bill McKay later also emailed an apology to her.
“Disturbing and upsetting”
It’s not the first time Mr. Fuller’s temper and venom have brought disrepute to council. In October 2016, an angry outburst in which he yelled “screw you” and “bite me” at the mayor made national headlines.
In 2016, Mr. Fuller was involved in an attempt to smear News Nanaimo with similar ridiculous claims.
Said Mr. Dacombe: “What I find really troubling is that these individuals… control a $200 million budget and almost 1,000 employees.”
Added Ms. Thompson: “It is disturbing and upsetting to receive these kind of responses to serious questions about what is going on at City Hall.
“Nanaimo has already been shamed by these councillors, and these statements make a mockery of our democratic institutions.”
News Nanaimo will continue to extend the right of reply to Mr. Fuller even though he appears uninterested in exercising it.
Subsequent to publication, councillor Fuller doubled down on his allegations. On Friday night at 10:32pm, he published a “rebuttal” to this article that repeats the Blackwater allegations. He also made false allegations against various other people.
In his “rebuttal,” Mr. Fuller says “my question to John, does he have or has he had any association with BlackWater seems reasonable to me.”
He also again asks if this reporter is “claiming the income made from his tabloid with revenue Canada? A simple question one should be curios (sic) of as he gets paid every time a person clicks on his blog.”
As Mr. Fuller was previously informed, News Nanaimo operates at a loss and this loss is accounted for in our tax returns. Contrary to Mr. Fuller’s assertions, we do not get paid “every time” someone clicks on this site.
Mr. Fuller has been informed of this on numerous occasions but he continues to say otherwise.
The important issue raised in this article is that residents who engage council should always be treated with respect and not become the subject of malicious attacks on their character.