In 2004, the former guitarist and co-founder of the heavy metal band Pantera, “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott was shot and killed while performing with his band Damageplan. The next year, a nonprofit called Ride for Dime was created in his honor, which raises money for other music-related charities and nonprofits.
Ride for Dime has been in the news recently after the president of that organization stepped down over allegations that he stole from the charity to fund his own “rock star” lifestyle. Rob Eichelberger was accused by a former friend of trading memorabilia for drugs and using stolen money to support himself. Eichelberger claims that he did not steal from the charity, though he did use Ride for Dime funds to reimburse himself for spending his own money on events. He never claimed those expenses on the charity’s tax forms, however. He claims that his recent purchases of cars, motorcycles, and a swimming pool were funded by an inheritance he got from his father.
Dimebag was a much beloved member of the heavy metal community, and it’s sad to see things like this happen to a charity in his honor. Dimebag’s long time girlfriend Rita Haney, who has long been associated with the charity, is taking over as chairperson of the board. Hopefully she can help get things settled and move the organization away from these troubled times. Making sure that the image of Ride for Dime isn’t tarnished too much or for too long has importance beyond that organization itself though. Celebrity charities are not infrequently accused of wrongdoing or simply being a grab for publicity, and these kinds of problems don’t help that. And beyond that, the heavy metal community already has a pretty negative, though unwarranted, image in mainstream culture, so proving that Ride for Dime is a worthwhile cause might help to correct that image.