Columbia City Parks Superintendent Embezzles $240K for Baseball Cards

Mark Green, the former superintendent of Columbia City Parks and Recreation, found himself in hot water after being sentenced to three years behind bars for his embezzlement scheme. His misdeeds saw him pocket over $240,000 from the city’s funds, with an eye, or perhaps a glove, for baseball cards. This tale of corruption and deception unfolded following a keen eye on financial transactions by Columbia City Mayor Ryan Daniel in March 2023.

In a collaborative effort involving the Whitley County Prosecutor’s Office, Indiana State Police, and the Indiana State Board of Accounts, an investigation was launched, unearthing Green’s illicit actions. The trail of breadcrumbs led to Green’s dismissal from his position of authority, tarnishing his once-spotless reputation. Court documents laid bare the scandalous details of Green’s spending spree, revealing that he splurged a staggering $246,000 on baseball cards from the ‘Sport Spot’ establishment, utilizing the city’s credit card without remorse.

Adding insult to injury, Green thought he could make a quick buck by offloading some of these ill-gotten cards on eBay. However, justice caught up with him swiftly, as he eventually confessed to his fraudulent use of city funds to fuel his hobby. Originally facing a laundry list of charges including corrupt business influence and official misconduct, Green wisely accepted a plea agreement in April 2024, copping to just one count of theft. This strategic move saw the remaining charges dropped and mandated Green to repay a hefty sum of $275,628 to set things right.

The sentencing hammer finally came down on Green this week, as the court decreed he must serve the first year of his three-year sentence either in jail or on work release, with the following two years under probationary watch. This cautionary tale serves as a stark reminder of the critical need for stringent financial oversight within Columbia City’s Parks and Recreation Department. Calls for improved controls and accountability echo in the aftermath of this scandal, urging leaders to safeguard public funds from falling prey to individuals like Mark Green. Let this saga serve as a poignant lesson in ethical stewardship and prudent fiscal management.


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