Tuesday, June 20, 2000

Threat to councilman probed by Lebanon cops

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — The city's typically cutthroat politics may have just turned criminal.

        Lebanon police are investigating an anonymous letter sent to Councilman James Reinhard last week. The writer threatened to publicly accuse Mr. Reinhard of wrongdoing if he didn't stop criticizing the city manager and resign.

        “No and no are my two answers,” Mr. Reinhard said Monday. The letter upset his wife, but it makes him more determined to dig in his heels, he said. “I must be on the right track if there are people who are trying to get rid of me.”

        Even though there was no threat of physical harm, police are looking into it.

        “The thing that bothers me is him being a public official and the letter being coercive in nature,” said Officer Rob White, who's investigating it.

        “We can't have that. We're going to take it pretty seriously.”

        Mr. Reinhard has angered the majority on City Council — and some members of the community — by trying to fire City Manager James Patrick.

        He has repeatedly criticized Mr. Patrick's handling of personnel and financial issues and asked the city attorney to investigate Mr. Patrick's actions.

        Officer White said the letter, which was turned over to Lebanon police after Mr. Reinhard opened it Friday night, will be tested for fingerprints.

        However, the officer conceded that finding the culprit will be difficult.

        The fingerprints on the handwritten letter — if they exist — would have to match those of a criminal whose prints are on file or those of a suspect from who police have taken prints.

        The anonymous writer threatened to reveal that Mr. Reinhard was suspected of embezzling from a former employer, the councilman said — adding that there wasn't a grain of truth to it.


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