SUNBURY — Shamokin Patrolman Nathan Rhodes and Joseph Leschinskie, who were sued last month by Coal Township businessman Vinny Clausi, filed a countersuit Tuesday afternoon alleging that the former county commissioner bribed Chief of Police Darwin Tobias III to have Rhodes fired, harassed Rhodes’ wife and offered money to people to break Leschinskie’s legs.
Rhodes and Leschinskie are each seeking in excess $50,000.
In their countersuit filed through attorney Douglas N. Engelman, of Williamsport, Rhodes and Leschinskie deny Clausi’s claims in his lawsuit and bring forth allegations against the defendant.
When contacted Tuesday night, Clausi said all the allegations made against him in the countersuit are false.
Clausi sued Rhodes and Leschinskie, a former Shamokin mayoral candidate, claiming assault and conspiracy regarding a May 18 incident at Turkey Hill Minit Market on Lincoln Street.
Clausi alleges that Rhodes, who he did not sue in his capacity as a patrolman, and Leschinskie, conspired to confront him at the market.
He has asked for damages in excess of $50,000 on counts of assault and conspiracy against Rhodes and conspiracy against Leschinskie.
In the countersuit, the plaintiffs deny that Rhodes approached Clausi in an aggressive manner and began screaming at him mere inches from his face. The plaintiffs say that Rhodes spoke to Clausi about an incident that occurred between his wife, Tammy, and Clausi at her place of employment.
The plaintiffs said no threats were made to Clausi at Turkey Hill and Rhodes had no physical contact with the defendant. The countersuit says Rhodes requested Clausi to stay away from his wife and her place of employment.
The plaintiffs claim Clausi caused a disturbance at Rhodes’ place of employment, prompting her employer to warn Clausi about his actions.
Rhodes and Leschinskie also accuse Clausi of offering money to Tobias to have Rhodes terminated and offering money to people within the community to break Leschinskie’s legs, which Leschinskie claims has caused him to suffer severe emotional distress.
When asked about the alleged bribe by Clausi and the countersuit, Tobias reserved comment.
The plaintiffs also deny that Rhodes told Clausi that he would get every police officer in the county to arrest him and that the officer called him derogatory names.
The plaintiffs claim Clausi’s suit filed against them and his alleged attempt to have Rhodes terminated from the police force were in retaliation for Rhodes citing Clausi for parking on a sidewalk in the city. Rhodes later withdrew the citation.
Clausi previously said he got no satisfaction in attempting to have city or state police or the county district attorney’s office investigate the incident at Turkey Hill, which led to his decision to sue.
Clausi said he had never met Rhodes before the incident at Turkey Hill.