Columbia City Parks Embezzlement: Ex-Superintendent Sentenced

Mark Green, the former superintendent of Columbia City Parks and Recreation, has been handed a three-year sentence after being found guilty of embezzling over $240,000 from city funds. A shocking revelation emerged that part of the stolen funds had been diverted to purchase baseball cards.

The embezzlement scandal unraveled following an investigative probe initiated by Columbia City Mayor Ryan Daniel in March 2023, triggered by the detection of suspicious financial transactions. The inquiry, conducted in cooperation with the Whitley County Prosecutor’s Office, Indiana State Police, and the Indiana State Board of Accounts, exposed Green’s illicit activities leading to his immediate termination from the role.

Court documents brought to light that Green had utilized the city’s credit card to make baseball card purchases amounting to approximately $246,000 from the ‘Sport Spot’. Subsequently, he resold some of these cards on eBay. Green eventually confessed to using city funds without authorization for these personal acquisitions.

Initially facing a barrage of charges including four counts of corrupt business influence, four counts of theft, and one count of official misconduct, Green opted to plead guilty in April 2024 to a single theft charge as part of a plea agreement. The agreement facilitated the dismissal of all other charges against him and mandated Green to reimburse the total sum of $275,628. The restitution encompassed $100,000 earmarked for a bond company and the remaining $175,628 to be returned to the city coffers.

The sentencing for Green was administered on Monday, decreeing that he serve the initial year of his three-year sentence either under incarceration or on a work-release program, followed by a further two years on probation. This high-profile case highlighted grave deficiencies in the financial oversight mechanisms within the Columbia City Parks and Recreation Department, spurring demands for intensified controls and scrutiny to prevent such misappropriations in the future.


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