According to the Dallas Observer, the president of Ride For Dime — the nonprofit organization named for late PANTERA guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott and dedicated to raising money for other music-related charitable organizations — has stepped down from his position after he was accused by his former best friend of stealing money from the charity to fund his rock-star lifestyle. Taking over as the chairman of the board for Ride For Dime is Dimebag’s longtime girlfriend, Rita Haney.
Shawn Marchant told the Dallas Observer that he had witnessed his former friend Rob Eichelberger trading memorabilia donated to the charity for drugs, and another former Ride For Dime chapter president claimed Eichelberger “was actually able to quit his job and upgrade a lot of his personal possessions and upgrade his lifestyle.”
Eichelberger denied stealing money from the charity or trading memorabilia for drugs and claimed he received a $100,000 inheritance after his father passed away, some of which he used to purchase new cars, motorcycles and a swimming pool. He admitted to using Ride For Dime’s charity money to reimburse himself for spending his own money to fund other Ride For Dime events across the nation, according to Dallas Observer, but he didn’t claim the reimbursements on the charity’s tax forms in 2009 or 2010.
Ride For Dime was originally launched in 2005 as a 501(c)3 charitable organization which was supposed to honor Dimebag — who was tragically killed in December 2004 — as well as those who were murdered alongside him: Jeff Thompson, Nathan Bray and Erin Halk.
There are reportedly six Ride For Dime chapters in the U.S., and a chapter in London.
“We don’t just let anybody hold Ride For Dime,” Eichelberger told the Dallas Observer in 2014. “They have to have their heart in the right place.”
Dimebag was co-founder and lead guitarist for PANTERA. When PANTERA broke up in 2003, Dimebag and his brother Vinnie Paul formed DAMAGEPLAN. On December 8, 2004, while performing with DAMAGEPLAN at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio, Dimebag was shot and killed onstage by Nathan Gale. He was 38 years old.