Missouri House Candidate Called Out for Work in Adult Industry

Michael J. Colona, an attorney running for a seat in the Missouri House of Representatives, has come under fire from his opponents for his past involvement with a gay online adult company.

Colona, 39, is one of five candidates for the political seat that represents the Tower Grove Park area. He previously worked for X99 Media, a Springfield, Ill., company that produces hardcore material for the Internet and video stores, and he lists his affiliation with the Free Speech Coalition on his campaign literature.

Colona said his involvement with the company is limited to making sure no minors are used in production.

"A small part of my job is to ensure no minors are exploited by the pornography industry," Colona said this week. "Some of my opponents want to mischaracterize the work I've done. Make no mistake: My work is focused on keeping kids safe."

Colona has helped X99 Media, which operates sites like Citi Boyz, comply with federal obscenity regulations that require pornography manufacturers to keep detailed records of the people portrayed in film or print or on the Internet. As part of federal disclosure requirements, Colona's name has appeared online and on videos as the "custodian of records" for adult content distributed by X99.

But in light of recent media attention brought by his association with the industry, Colona apparently is trying to sever ties.

Listings naming Colona as custodian of records for some of X99 Media's websites have been removed, and Colona told one reporter he was immediately resigning as a member of the Free Speech Coalition.

St. Louis Alderman Jennifer Florida, a Colona supporter, said she had heard about his ties to the adult industry. Though she still supports Colona, she said she is wary about the pornography business.

"As a mom, I would stay very far from that," said Florida, who also represents the Tower Grove Park area. "It makes me feel very uncomfortable."

The primary election for the Missouri House of Representatives will be held in August.