Santa Cruz City Council candidate Tim Goncharoff has called off his official kickoff event, which had been set to take place at the Darling House this Sunday (March 16). The event has been postponed as a result of the Weekly’s investigation into several fake Facebook accounts that have been linked to Goncharoff.

“It would be a mistake to suggest that recent articles in the local media have not had an impact. Some of my close advisors have suggested that we take a break to resolve these issues and make plans for moving forward, and I think that is wise advice,” Goncharoff wrote on his Facebook page Thursday afternoon.

Goncharoff continues to claim he was not behind the fake accounts, and this week claimed his Facebook page may have been hacked. It was only the most recent Goncharoff excuse for the several years he spent communicating frequently with a collection of steamy, politically progressive lingerie model avatars. He told the Weekly he has changed his Facebook password and security settings, “so hopefully that took care of the problem.”

Asked if he planned to investigate who was behind the accounts himself, Goncharoff said no. “I’m sure there are people who could track down information about these accounts, but I don’t have those kinds of skills or the resources to hire someone who does,” he said via e-mail.

“I want to say clearly that I did not create these accounts and I do not know who did. I would be pleased if anyone who can shed light on this would come forward,” Goncharoff said. “Strange things happen in the online world.”

Indeed. And in the real world, too. On the flier for his campaign kickoff event, State Assembly Member Mark Stone was listed as a “special guest,” but when reached for comment earlier in the week, Stone said he was not planning on going to the event and had not endorsed anyone for city council. County Treasurer Fred Keeley had also been listed as a guest of honor for the party. Keeley could not be reached for comment about whether or not he is still supporting Goncharoff’s campaign.

Despite rescheduling the event, Goncharoff says he is still running for council. “Beginning the campaign so early presents some challenges, but it also provides some advantages. One of these is that we still have plenty of time, and we can take a break to work on our strategy moving ahead without too much concern,” he wrote on his Facebook page Thursday.