TIMELINE OF SHAME: New Rome, OH
· 1947: Village originally incorporated. The
original village of "Rome" is still marked on some maps, a little north
of the present location.
· 1970's-80's: Village known all over Central
Ohio as a speed trap
· 1989: State audit notes many improper accounting
· 1990: Police chief Darwin Pelphrey charged with
theft in office, fabricating records, and possession of dangerous ordnance
· 1990: US Census counts 111 residents
· 1990: Patricia Kinder, mayor's court clerk,
pleads guilty to 6 counts of theft in office; auxiliary officer Victor Ramey
pleads guilty to forgery
· 1990: Current New Rome police chief Larry Cunningham
is "reappointed" chief
· 1991: Ex-chief Pelphrey pleads guilty to felony
theft for taking a shotgun from the village's property room
· 1991: Longtime mayor Bob Lee resigns after accusations
of using a village credit card to buy gasoline for his personal vehicle.
An audit showed 35 percent of village fuel purchases were used by Lee
· 1991: Former police chief Bell is found to have
used a village credit card improperly. Bell and Lee ordered by state auditors
to repay $2,500 to New Rome
· 1993: Mayor's court clerk Sandra Bell found
responsible for over $56,000 in missing funds. Bell, widow of former police
chief Bell, pleads guilty to one count of theft in office
· 1996: New Rome receives $57,742 federal grant,
citing a "dramatic rise" in burglaries, gang activity, vandalism and other
crimes in New Rome. The money is subsequently used for traffic enforcement
· 1997: State inspectors condemn New Rome village
hall; it is replaced with a double-wide (The Trailer of Injustice)
· 1998: Clerk of mayor's court Tammy Van Scyoc
resigns after $56,456 disappears from New Rome accounts. State auditors find
inadequate record-keeping makes it difficult to determine guilt
· 2000: US Census counts 60 residents. 18 are
· 2001: Clerk of mayor's court Joyce Johnson admits
destroying case files and to stealing $5,600 from the mayor's court.
· 2001: Goofball attempt to annex surrounding
portions of unincorporated Franklin and Prairie Township. They mainly
wanted the shopping districts, Westland Mall, and the stretch of I-270 (can
you imagine?) Townships balk and attempt is eventually abandoned.
· 2001: Jamie Mueller elected mayor with 6 votes.
Existing officials refuse to seat him as mayor.
· 2001: Newromesucks.com website founded
· 2002: First "March on New Rome" draws over 100 participants
· 2002: Auditor Jim Petro again finds financial
discrepancies and recommends New Rome be dissolved.
· 2002: ODOT finds New Rome’s speed limit
illegal and calls a special council meeting; New Rome’s council members
blow off the meeting.
· 2002: New Rome draws bad press from numerous
local and national papers, including the National Enquirer. Actor/comedian
Robin Williams pokes fun of the village during a comedy show in Columbus.
· 2002: New Rome asks for 10 additional police
· 2002: Second protest march is held. Participants
vow to march twice a year until New Rome is eliminated!
Thanks to Laura for compiling this