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Unpacking Bill Dibble’s Political Skulduggery

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From Andrew Harris 10/25/21

Call it wile, jiggery-pokery, chicanery, or just plain deceit. When a politician intentionally misleads a constituent, a business owner, and then the local press for purposes of being re-elected: That politician has some explaining to do.

Late last week we reported that William Dibble, currently a sitting legislator in District 3, and on the ballot for re-election had asked us to publish a letter titled: “Mike Edwards-Mama’s Smokin BBQ – Support Ltr for Legislator Dibble.” Never dreaming that a longstanding political figure, seeking re-election would intentionally mislead and overtly misrepresent, we published the political endorsement on October 21st.

Within a few days, Mike Edwards family reached out to tell us that “Mike did not write that letter, he doesn’t get into politics.” Fairly shocked at the accusation we quickly confirmed that Edwards did not write the letter, did not give permission for the letter to be published, and was not happy that Dibble had taken advantage of him and his business.

Immediately after we called Dibble to find out what was going on, that conversation went about like this:

WS: Hi Bill, we have a little problem. Mike Edwards tells us that he didn’t write that letter or give you permission to have it published. What is going on ?

BD: I’m surprised to hear that, I will have to get with Mike about that.

WS: Bill did Mike Edwards write that letter on his company letterhead or did you?

BD: I can’t really talk now I’m up at the airport, I’ll have to get back to you.

WS: Please do and as soon as possible.

As of 10:00 am on 10/25/21 Dibble has not called or responded to the following email:

“Bill, I think at this point I would prefer your response in writing.  Did you write this letter on business letterhead or did Mike Edwards?   Did Mike Edwards provide you permission to publish this endorsement? Unless Mike Edwards is a not being truthful, Why would you mislead the Wellsville Sun? If you contend that Mike Edwards is not telling the truth and did write that letter will you take action to defend yourself and bid to be elected to public office?”

We finally caught up with Mike Edwards at his restaurant on Saturday 10/23 to ask him a few questions about the letter. Edwards is not a political person and not at all interested in being in the middle of this pile of chicanery. That conversation confirmed that Mike did not write that letter, provide permission for a letter to be written on his behalf, or sign the letter.

” That is my signature on the letter though. Bill stopped by the hot dog stand(Hot Diggity Dogs, Edwards other business) and asked if I’d sign some paper. I assumed it was just a petition or something, we were swamped and really wanted to move him along so I signed it. Then Bill mentioned something about me writing a letter for him and I just said no and got back to work. I don’t get into politics other than to wish everyone best of luck.”

After that conversation with Edwards it appears that not only did Dibble produce the letter, but obtained the signature in a most unscrupulous manner.

With the signature in hand and clearly ignoring Edwards refusal to provide a letter of support Dibble(or someone at Dibble’s direction) crafted a counterfeit letter. Going so far as to place the letter on Mama’s Smoking BBQ letterhead and requesting that the Wellsville Sun publish.

Let’s review the events discussed: Mike Edwards was working away at this business in Wellsville. Legislator and candidate Bill Dibble approached Edwards during the busiest time of the day looking for support in the upcoming election. Edwards refused to provide a letter of support or lend his name to one. Dibble asked him to sign a piece of paper and Edwards obliged believing it was a petition and signing would allow him to get back to work on the lunch rush. Edwards did not suspect Dibble would use that signature on a counterfeit letter. Sitting elected official Dibble seemingly took the signature and affixed it to a letter on Edwards business letterhead. That letter was submitted to the Wellsville Sun by Dibble via email.

We asked the Allegany County Board of Elections if this sort of mischief is illegal and what consequences it could have. Barb Broughton replied to that question this morning:

“… the Board of Elections has nothing to do with this. Sorry. Probably a civil matter I am guessing.”

As a result, the Wellsville Sun will now only publish letters to the editor from the original author. Fool us once, shame on you, we “won’t be fooled again.”

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