A past three-term mayor and one of Clinton’s best-known former civic leaders was arrested Tuesday for crimes involving alleged misuse of federal funds.

Ramon J. Colombo, 68, of Clinton was charged with three counts of theft and three counts of official misconduct, all class-D felonies.

An investigation by Indiana State Police found Colombo allegedly allowed a Terre Haute company to overbid its services to Vermillion County to cover the costs of items bought for Colombo’s personal use, according to a probable-cause affidavit.

Colombo committed the crimes while serving as director of the Vermillion County Emergency Management Agency, the affidavit states.

Colombo turned himself in Tuesday and posted $10,000 bail. Attempts to reach him Tuesday evening were unsuccessful.

Colombo served nine years on the City Council, was mayor from 1988 through 1999 and later served as director of the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Planning program. He retired in September 2008.

He also served as a member of the Local Emergency Planning Committee, which as a member of, he went through ethics training from the State Ethics Committee.

The Vermillion County EMA and Emergency Preparedness Program received funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which the Indiana Department of Homeland Security oversaw the distribution of.

Police began investigating Colombo on June 17 at the request of the Vermillion County Prosecutor’s Office.

When contracting with a Terre Haute electric contractor, in at least three separate occasions in 2005, 2006 and 2008, Colombo allegedly directed the company to add extra costs to the contract proposal in order to buy specific, non-itemized items of personal property, according to the court document.

A 52-inch flat-screen television, two 26-inch flat-screen televisions, television stands, a Sony Blu-Ray Disc DVD player, a Kubota tractor, a double oven wall unit, gas range top and a refrigerator totaled to $19,196.61.

Upon hearing about the investigation, Colombo took the televisions, television stands and DVD player to the Vermillion County Courthouse on June 16, the court document stated. He told police he had been holding them at his house because the day he picked them up, the courthouse was closed.

An electric contractor project manager and estimator for Vermillion County said “he knew it was wrong to handle proposals in the way he did, but that was the way Colombo operated,” according to the probable-cause affidavit. “… this was a condition of doing business with Colombo and Vermillion County,” the document stated.

Colombo allegedly told police the televisions were donated or may have been absorbed through a bid. He also told police he bought the oven wall unit and gas range top from a friend who bought those items along with the refrigerator and tractor from an employee of the electric contractor.

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