In January 2018, the founder of Victoria Horse Alliance, Jordan Reichert, posted fake signs at Tally-Ho Carriage Tours and Victoria Carriage Tours indicating that the businesses were closed under the “vehicle for hire bylaw”.
Posting fake business closure signs, and then subsequently lying about it on a CFAX1070 interview with Adam Stirling, however, was taking things a step too far.
Both businesses filed a complaint against Reichert with the Victoria Police department in January, and he has been charged with Mischief under section 430(1) of the criminal code.
According to court records, he will appear to fix a date for trial on May 2nd, 2018.
The Victoria Horse Alliance is an animal activism group that maintains that the tour horses have been treated unfairly, and thus regularly protests their activities by carrying signs like “Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages” and “Horses Don’t Belong in the City”.
What happened in January
During his conversation with Adam Stirling, Reichert insisted that the city of Victoria confirmed to him that the companies would not be able to operate past January 1st.
However, the owner and operator of Tally Ho, Donna Friedlander, had told CFAX that the license was “due for renewal on January 1st, with the fees and documentation due by January 15th” – which meant that their operations could continue into the new year.
At the outset of the interview, Stirling had no idea that the ‘Closed for Business’ sign was placed on the hitching rails by Jordan Reichert himself – this was made clear when Kate Clarke, an employee of Tally Ho, called in to set the facts straight.
Since the sign had the appearance of being posted by the City (or an authority within the business itself), Stirling was shocked and frustrated to hear Reichert defend his actions, saying things like “I am making a statement that this company should be closed for business… I’m not lying about anything. I never implied in any way that I am the city.”
When asked how long the sign was left up for, Reichert indicated that it was up for the amount of time it took for him to take a picture of it.
What he failed to mention was that there was a second sign with the exact same message which he neglected to take down – this was confirmed by Clarke: “I’m still holding one of the signs that was left up. Saying that it was taken down is actually a lie.”
Despite being caught out, Reichert continued to defend himself, stating that he misspoke, but that everything he said was true – an obvious contradiction.
It is difficult to estimate how much business was lost to both horse carriage tour companies as a result of Reichert’s actions.
However, according to Donna Friedlander, after the sings were posted, staff at Tally-Ho were flooded with phone inquiries about whether or not their companies was still operating.
Just this morning, Victoria Carriage Tours received an email from a customer stating that they weren’t sure if the business was still open.
Despite the criminal case against him, Reichert’s website, which states his desire to run for Victoria city council this year, remains up and unchanged. He declined to comment when asked if he is still considering running.
According to Reichert’s lawyer, Loise Salmond, this is a “very bizarre allegation” and they will definitely be taking the case to trial.