Team SMH presidential candidate Scott Mason has filed a police report regarding an alleged identity theft in the ownership of four elections-related websites.
The websites — “votewrl.com”, “votewlr.com”, “voteajp.com” and “voteapj.com” — were purchased by someone claiming to be Scott Mason early in December, according to the websites’ registrant information.
His election opponent, Team WRL, whose website is at teamwrl.com, was prevented from purchasing any of the four domains, as it appeared they were owned by Mason. Prior to them being taken down by administrators of its parent domain, the websites featured a .gif of Rob Ford falling after attempting to throw a football.
Yesterday, the AMS elections team determined that Mason was not guilty of any wrongdoing in the situation.
The Journal was made aware of the allegations by an anonymous source under the email ”amsjohndoe[at]gmail.com”. The user would not reveal their identity to the Journal.
Team WRL’s campaign manager, Troy Sherman, filed a report with the AMS elections team after they made the discovery on Dec. 18. After an investigation was launched on Dec. 20, the AMS elections team determined yesterday that Mason wasn’t guilty of wrongdoing, according to an email sent by the elections team to both teams.
Mason, who was contacted by the AMS elections team as part of the investigation on Jan. 1, had no prior knowledge of his name attached to the sites, he told the Journal. After contacting the abuse hotline of the domain’s parent site “godaddy.com”, Mason filed a police report, claiming to be the victim of identity theft.
The domains were linked to “scottjmason[at]hotmail.com”, an email Scott said he doesn’t own.
“I submitted my water bill all four times for every website and they contacted the fake email address and [they were] unable to match the information so eventually it was taken down,” Mason said.
“Through my dealings with them they said to me ‘yes this doesn’t look like something you would have done’,” he said.
According to Steven Koopman, Kingston Police media relations officer, Mason filed a police report earlier in January, which has since been assigned to Det. Kim Siemonsen and classified as a fraud investigation.
Det. Siemonsen was unavailable to respond to interview requests from the Journal, as she was away from the office.
Mason added he doesn’t intend to press charges against the person responsible for the incident, but said he wants to know the person’s identity so that he can forward the case to the AMS’ non-academic discipline.
“I was offended by this harassment and it did cause a big kerfuffle for my family,” he said.
Chris Parker, AMS chief returning officer, said a ruling from the investigation was difficult to make, as there was no way to externally confirm the ownership of the domains.
“It’s something we don’t have the ability to control because it could be external to the Queen’s community,” he said.
Mark Godin, AMS chief electoral officer, said he echoed Parker’s concerns.
“Where a lack of facts exists you might as well reach as far as you can,” he said. “This was not an ideal situation to occur.”
Sherman said the incident didn’t cause too much concern for Team WRL.
“The [AMS elections team] found no wrongdoing by any party and so that’s fine for us,” he said. “We moved on, we had a different domain name … so it didn’t really bother us.”
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