Mayor says Leechburg isn’t paying Diebold, despite rumors |
Valley News Dispatch

Mayor says Leechburg isn’t paying Diebold, despite rumors

Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
Attorney Duke George, talks with reporters for his client, Mike Diebold, after his hearing at District Magistrate Cheryl Peck Yakopec on Friday Jan 19, 2018.
Mike Diebold

Leechburg Mayor Wayne Dobos wants borough residents to know they’re not footing any of suspended police chief Mike Diebold’s bills.

As rumors continue to swirl on social media about Diebold’s pay status, the mayor made a single post regarding the matter on Facebook Tuesday.

“Mike Diebold is not getting any pay from the Leechburg Borough and has not since he was suspended,” Dobos posted. “This will be my only comment, thank you. This is not a post on taking anyone’s side it’s just the facts.”

Diebold, who is accused of soliciting sex from an undercover agent posing as a teenager, is in the Westmoreland County Jail awaiting trial. His case is scheduled for a status conference on Dec. 11, according to Diebold’s attorney, Duke George.

Dobos said residents inquire about Diebold’s pay status frequently.

“I keep telling people he is suspended without pay or benefits,” Dobos said during a phone interview Tuesday. “The borough is doing everything by the book.”

Dobos said Diebold’s 2018 police chief salary was budgeted for $51,043, but Diebold was arrested in early January 2018.

He was suspended without pay and benefits and Diebold’s estranged wife, Danielle Reinke, said the borough “graciously” extended health benefits to her and their two minor children until March 31, 2018.

Reinke provided documents to the Tribune-Review confirming that she has Diebold enrolled on active Highmark medical, Aetna dental and Davis vision plans, through her full-time employer.

“Yep. He is currently on my healthcare — since April 2018,” Reinke said. “His mother later bought him health insurance but never made me aware. I had no knowledge he had other coverage and have never received anything official of the sort.”

Resignation package rejected

Dobos explained that two resignation packages have been extended to Diebold by borough officials.

Diebold rejected the first offer, said Dobos.

“He has been offered the chance to resign,” Dobos said. “And, while I can’t comment on specifics of the resignation package, his demands on the first offer were more than what we felt was worthwhile.”

Dobos declined to offer a resignation package timeline, citing confidentiality rules.

A second resignation package was extended by the borough and Dobos confirmed that Diebold has not yet responded.

“We are waiting and the residents are disgusted by it (the waiting),” Dobos said. “If he is convicted or pleads guilty he will, by the law, be immediately fired.”

Jason Schaeffer currently serves as officer in charge until the Diebold matter is resolved said Dobos.

“Leechburg is doing it’s best to get through this but the legal system can run on for quite a bit of time. We would hope that this would be over with and that we could move on. Be patient,” he said.

Family feud continues

Diebold’s family is embroiled in a feud over the chief’s legal moves to receive alimony and spousal support from his estranged wife.

The dispute extends to Diebold’s mother, Karen Diebold, who filed a claim in court seeking visitation rights with the couple’s 18-month-old son.

Mike Diebold said in court documents that he is “without sufficient income and assets to provide for his reasonable needs and legal expenses and to pay for legal fees, costs and expenses while litigating his divorce.”

At issue is a GoFundMe account established after Diebold lost part of his left arm in a fireworks accident in June 2017.

Diebold said in court papers the money, believed to be about $50,000, is controlled by Reinke, but she said the account is frozen.

Joyce Hanz is a freelance writer.

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