A former Munford city manager was indicted on charges he used city property for personal gain.
Arraigned in Tipton County Circuit Court Monday morning, Peter Colin was charged with official misconduct. The charge resulted from an investigation conducted by the state comptroller’s office after Colin reportedly purchased a city-owned Jeep Cherokee in order to get a rebate from a car dealership on the purchase of another vehicle.
According to the investigative report, owning the Jeep qualified Colin for the $2,500 rebate when he then purchased a General Motors brand vehicle from a dealership.
He told investigators he had permission from mayor Dwayne Cole, however Cole reportedly said he did not understand Colin’s idea and did not authorize the transaction.
Colin gave city recorder/treasurer Sherry Yelvington a personal check for the Jeep on June 27, 2018. He paid $500 and his plan was to return it to the city for $400, with the city netting $100 from the deal.
Yelvington told Colin the transaction should not have taken place, and did not deposit the check, however Colin already had the vehicle’s title and had already transferred its ownership to himself. Yelvington told Colin he needed to return the vehicle to city that week.
On June 29, 2018, Colin purchased his new vehicle using the Jeep for the rebate, which was on top of $3,143.42 in other rebates he was receiving from the dealership.
The transaction violated Munford Municipal Code § 4-307, which states “An official or employee may not use or authorize the use of city time, facilities, equipment, or supplies for private gain or advantage to any private person or entity, except as authorized by legitimate contract or lease that is determined by the governing body to be in the best interests of the city.”
On July 18, 2018, Colin transferred the Jeep’s title back to the city and cited $400 as its sale price, then donated $100 to the city the following day.
Munford Municipal Code § 4-311 states “an appointed official or an employee who violates any provision of this chapter is subject to disciplinary action.”
The investigative report, which is public record and available for public inspection, specifically states during the investigation nine months later, Cole had not made the city’s aldermen aware of the situation “nor had he taken any disciplinary action against Mr. Colin as he was unaware the transactions involving the Jeep took place.”
In April 2019, The Leader began investigating claims Colin had purchased the Jeep for personal gain. The comptroller’s office could not comment on a potential investigation and the state would not release records about the vehicle’s title history, however a resident asked about the investigation during an open meeting.
Colin resigned on May 7, 2019, but city leaders would not confirm or deny the resignation was connected to the rumored investigation.
During the June 2019 monthly board meeting, Cole said the town’s attorney has advised him not to comment on questions about a comptroller investigation and alderman Jack Bomar interjected and said, “Which should tell you something.”
Colin was indicted last week. He turned himself in, was booked into jail Sunday morning and is free on a $5,000 bond.
His trial date has been set for July 21 unless the matter is resolved prior to that date.
The comptroller’s report states “Colin acknowledged the entire transaction ‘was just a stupid thing to do.'”