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Ex-Park Superintendent Sentenced for Embezzling $240K

Former Columbia City Parks and Recreation superintendent, Mark Green, has been sentenced to three years for embezzling more than $240,000 from city funds. The scandal emerged after suspicions were raised regarding financial transactions, leading to an investigation spearheaded by Columbia City Mayor Ryan Daniel in March 2023.

Collaborating with the Whitley County Prosecutor’s Office, Indiana State Police, and the Indiana State Board of Accounts, the investigation uncovered Green’s unauthorized expenditures. Court documents revealed that Green had misappropriated approximately $246,000 by purchasing baseball cards from ‘Sport Spot’ using the city’s credit card. He then proceeded to sell some of these cards on eBay.

After being terminated from his position due to the investigation’s findings, Green faced a string of charges including four counts of corrupt business influence, four counts of theft, and one count of official misconduct. However, in April 2024, he entered a guilty plea to one count of theft under a plea agreement. This resulted in the dismissal of all other charges against him, albeit with the stipulation that Green would make restitution totaling $275,628.

The restitution sum included $100,000 to a bond company and the remaining $175,628 to the city. Subsequently, Green was sentenced on Monday, with the court decreeing that he must serve the first year of his three-year sentence either in jail or on work release, followed by two years on probation. This case has shed light on lapses in financial oversight within Columbia City’s Parks and Recreation Department, unearthing the need for reinforced controls and monitoring mechanisms.

The incident involving the former superintendent’s embezzlement serves as a cautionary tale, underscoring the importance of rigorous financial checks and balances to prevent such malfeasance in the future. The misappropriation of public funds for personal gain not only undermines trust in governmental institutions but also impacts the community’s well-being and services provided by the city. As such, the sentencing of Mark Green stands as a warning to officials at all levels to uphold integrity and transparency in their stewardship of public resources.

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