DA to probe assault charge against local mayor
WEST NEWTON - Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck said Monday his office will investigate an allegation that West Newton Mayor Art Berarducci allegedly injured an Allegheny County man who owns property in the borough by striking him twice with his vehicle.
Peck said an assistant county detective will be assigned today, after the district attorney's office received a request from borough Police Chief Gary Indof.
"Chief Indof said the incident involves someone related to the president of council (David J. Martinelli) and the mayor," said Peck.
The alleged victim is Dale Kimberly, 42, of Sutersville.
His wife, Diane Kimberly, attended Monday night's borough council meeting to relate the incident involving her husband, who did not attend the meeting.
The Sutersville claimed Berarducci intentionally caused personal injury to her husband.
Kimberly, who apparently was not aware that Indof had already approached the district attorney about the situation, asked why criminal charges have not been filed against the mayor for allegedly striking her husband twice on the shoulder with the mirror of his truck while he was standing at the VFW parking lot on May 6.
According to Kimberly, her husband was treated at an area hospital for contusions to the shoulder and continues to seek medical treatment.
Diane Kimberly is Martinelli's daughter. She and her husband own of Council President Dave Martinelli. The couple own Kimberly Services in West Newton.
"(Berarducci) put the truck in reverse and hit Dale in back of the shoulder with the mirror of his truck not once, but twice," said Diane Kimberly. "If he (Police Chief Gary Indof) wasn't going to file the report, if this was a conflict of interest for him, why didn't he call in the state police immediately?"
According to Kimberly, her husband was looking at possible contract work for the borough when he asked the mayor why he didn't show up for a scheduled meeting. She said the incident took place after the mayor responded he didn't have time to attend.
"The whole situation I have discussed is an inappropriate manner for a mayor or someone who works in the sheriff's department," she said.
Kimberly gave council the name of her attorney who will address the matter.
Berarducci declined to comment on the incident.
"If there's going to be legal action, I'm not going to comment on it," said Berarducci.
Diane Kimberly said she had planned to talk to council only about an ordinance violation she thinks was unjustly issued before the May 6 incident occurred.
Her tenant, S&S Auto, was apparently cited for having tires, car parts, oil containers and other items on the property. She said the items do not belong to the shop owner and are cleared weekly from the property.
"Artie (Berarducci) made a phone call to my tenant and harassed him over on an ordinance issue that did not pertain to him," said Kimberly. "Does he have the right to enforce the ordinances or to address them?
"Artie is well aware of whose property this is because there are other ordinance issues that have been in effect for the past year and nothing has been resolved as of yet on these other issues."
Kimberly presented council with a stack of photographs taken of other properties in the town's Third Ward that apparently have not been cited for similar conditions.
Dale Kimberly, Martinelli, Berarducci, Indof and the shop owner met at the shop to discuss the ordinance violation on May 4.
"I don't enforce issues," said Berarducci. "Enforcing issues means you cite people. I just address the issues in this borough, whether it be an ordinance or another problem."
Berarducci said he didn't think the tenant was harassed.
"We talked to the tenant and everything seemed kosher to me. He didn't mention anything about being harassed," the mayor said.
Indof said his department has issued about 60 citations for abandoned vehicles and litter in the borough since January.
Berarducci said his sister, Kim Balko, was among those receiving a citation for an abandoned vehicle.
"We obviously can't get to every ordinance violation in this town in the same day. There are other jobs to be done," said Berarducci. "I had the chief send my own sister a violation letter, so I'm not singling anybody out or taking care of my friends."
Last fall, Martinelli filed charges against Berarducci, alleging the mayor had threatened him and blocked his exit from the borough building.
A preliminary hearing on that matter was continued for 90 days, but charges were dropped prior to the second hearing.