Trash service theft alleged

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

PETERSBURG - An alderman and a restaurant owner were arrested last week on charges alleging theft of services from the city's garbage collector.

Alderman Brad Dillenback, 66, is accused of accepting trash from the Talk of the Town restaurant, operated by Danny Williams on Petersburg's public square. Williams, 53, is also charged.

Shelbyville-based attorney Jason Reeves represents both men and, on Monday, Lincoln County Sessions Court Judge Andy Merrick granted a continuance in the case, setting Jan. 21 as the defendants' new court date.

Bates Disposal of Fayetteville has a contract with Petersburg for household trash collection and disposal. The town collects fees from residents and pays Bates.

Williams' restaurant trash was allegedly placed in Dillenback's trashcan resulting in one collection instead of two, according to warrants on file with the Lincoln County General Sessions Court Clerk's office. That public record shows the alleged offenses were on: July 14, 21, 28; Aug. 4, 11, 18, 25 and; Sept. 29.

"I'm humiliated," Dillenback said Tuesday. "The town could have come to me when they first saw this allegation. Why did they wait until November?"

Town Recorder Dawn Forlines is listed on the warrant as the complainant. Forlines' husband, Eugene, their son, Tre, Petersburg Police Officer Alan Moorehead and Alderman Kenneth Richardson are listed as witnesses.

"No comment" was issued by the town recorder about the arrests.

Dillenback said the charges are "not true."

The alderman refrained from speaking at length about the case, but did say it was his first time in a police car and in front of a judge under such circumstances.

"I was totally surprised at 10:30 at night," Nov. 17, when he was taken into custody, said Dillenback.

The arresting officers were reported as Lincoln County Sheriff's Deputy Richard Steelman and Officer Mark E. Browning.

"The theft of services charge is a state law, not one of the town's rules on trash," Dillenback said.

"I'm going to be very careful about what I say because they were trying to arrest me on a felony," he continued.

Dillenback and Williams haven't entered a plea in the case "because it's a continuance," Dillenback said.

He sees the police action as politically motivated.

Other town officials, he says, are trying to get him off the board.

"They got Tony, already," Dillenback said of Tony Nichols who's sued the town in U.S. District Court to regain his seat on the town board, claiming his ouster was illegal.

Meanwhile, other members of the board want to change the town charter on how an alderman may be removed from office, Dillenback said. Reasons include conviction of a crime or misconduct showing unfitness for public duty.

"And I'm the guy who spent $1,000 of my own money to fix the floor of the senior citizens center and got people to fix the roof over the senior citizens center," the alderman said.