By Terri Hill | August 23, 2018
A trooper with the Pennsylvania State Police alleged in a criminal complaint filed Thursday, that the Ambridge police chief filed false disability claims and harassed and threatened Ambridge police officers.
Police allege James Mann, 61, of Economy, underwent back surgery in Dec. 2016 and was disabled for eight weeks. On Jan. 13, 2017 Mann filed for disability and throughout the year he collected about $27,000 in disability payments.
While receiving disability police say, he was paid $2,297 for a total of 42 hours of work he performed for the attorney general’s office drug task force, while he continued to collect disability payments.
Police said that Mann had depleted all of his sick and vacation time, but continued to get paid his full wage by filing time sheets for vacation, sick and compensatory time, yet, at the same time, continued to report to his disability carrier that he was not working.
It is also alleged that Mann requested other officers donate their unused time to him. Most refused, however, one officer donated 173 hours to Mann, police said.
The investigation started in February, 2018 when Ambridge Mayor David Drewnowski, contacted police concerning an anonymous letter that was delivered to his house after dark by a man wearing a disguise, alleging Mann was stealing from the borough.
The complaint also alleges that Mann made threats against 10 officers, accusing some of assisting in the state police investigation. Mann allegedly told some officers “I’m going to cut the cancer from the department” and also said “I’m going to fire everyone.”
Mann, police allege in the filing, suspended one officer, verbally berated and poked another in the chest several times and threatened three others with retaliation for cooperating.
In all Mann is charged with numerous counts of threats and improper influence in official and political matters, intimidation of witnesses or victims, insurance fraud, theft by deception, obstructing the administration of law, retaliation for past official action, official oppression, false swearing and harassment.
Neither the Chief or his attorney have returned calls requesting a comment. He is currently out of jail on a $10,000 unsecured bond.
Borough council is expected to hold a special meeting in the near future to consider Mann’s status. He has been on administrative leave since April.
Terri Hill can be contacted at email@example.com