A Nanaimo councillor accused of releasing private documents amid turmoil at city hall is being taken to court by the provincial government.

The incident happened in November 2016 when an email between Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay and a private consulting firm were handed out a council meeting and later posted online.

The email contained a letter that McKay penned to the group containing personal comments about city councillors.

Nanaimo Coun. Gord Fuller and three other Nanaimo residents – Tim McGrath, Matthew O'Donnel and Terry Lee – are named in a petition filed by B.C. Supreme Court ordering them to take copies of the confidential documents offline.

"It came as quite the surprise to me, I got the email last Friday from the Attorney General's office," said Fuller. "I had been of the understanding that this was over and done with."

He said he wasn't planning on taking down the online documents voluntarily because they were already in the public domain.

"If I remove them are they going to still follow up and go after other people?" asked Fuller.

It comes a month before Nanaimo citizens vote in the Oct. 20 municipal election, in which McKay has said he will not run for re-election.

Fuller has already announced his intention to run for re-election.