MICHIGAN CITY - The former Michigan Township trustee and her son, the former deputy township trustee, are being ordered to repay more than $100,000 the state alleges was misspent from the township.
A decision is also expected soon on whether criminal charges will be pursued against Mary Lombard and her son, Bart Lombard.
LaPorte County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Robert Neary said Wednesday his office received a copy of an audit conducted by the State Board of Accounts detailing the alleged misspending.
“This was the final piece of evidence we were waiting for,” said Neary, who had already received preliminary findings of a state police investigation into the questionable expenditures.
The audit released Friday shows Mary Lombard misspent more than $42,000 from 2007 to 2010 by overpaying her salary, paying herself and some township employees unauthorized bonuses and reimbursing herself for personal expenses along with penalties for not properly filing state and federal tax documents.
Bart Lombard during that same time period collected more than $87,000 in salary overpayments and unauthorized bonuses, according to the audit.
In addition, state auditors found the township paid $44,000 during those years for website expenses to a company for which Bart Lombard is director of operations.
In response to the audit, Mary Lombard said she and her attorney have been given an opportunity by the State Board of Accounts to offer an explanation to the accusations and they are in the process of giving a response.
“We'll go from there,” she said.
Mary Lombard did not want to offer any more specifics.
Bart Lombard could not be reached for comment.
Former township employees Andrew Crane and Betty Blackmon also were ordered by state auditors to pay back more than $13,000 in so-called “longevity bonuses.”
Those funds were authorized by Mary Lombard but not approved by the township board, according to the audit.
Neary said all four people named in the audit as collecting misspent funds could be targeted with criminal charges if a review of the evidence by his office warrants such action.
He could not predict exactly when a ruling will be made.
“I would anticipate the process would be done quickly, and within a couple of weeks we should have a decision,” Neary said.
Mary Lombard was Michigan Township trustee for nearly 30 years.
It’s the largest township in LaPorte County, encompassing Michigan City and the surrounding area.
The Indiana attorney general's office had frozen the assets of the Lombards, Crane and Blackmon while the audit was being conducted.