COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (WANE) – He was someone embedded in the community, the director of the Columbia City Parks Department for 20 years.
But when the city’s mayor, Ryan Daniel, and his administration became aware of suspicious financial activity, a formal investigation was opened. That resulted in the firing of Mark Green, who oversaw the parks department in the city of 10,000 people.
Daniel wasn’t able to confirm with WANE 15 the amount of money taken from city accounts, but the sum should be revealed once charges are filed against Green by the Whitley County Prosecutor’s office.
Whitley County Prosecutor D.J. Sigler said charges, if any, would be filed once the investigation by the Indiana State Police and the State Board of Accounts is complete.
“Obviously we’re hurt and angry and frustrated. This is somebody we’ve known for a long time, but we also want to make it right by our taxpayers and our citizens,” Daniel said.
As soon as the suspicious financial activity was noticed, Daniel called in the prosecutor’s office, the Indiana State Police, and the Indiana State Board of Accounts, he said.
“An investigation is ongoing right now,” said Daniel, who added that Green was fired last Thursday.
“Obviously, rumors have been swirling in our community,” Daniel said.
“At the end of the day, the main point to get across is as soon as we found out we turned it over to investigators, like within an hour,” Daniel said. “Second, there’s really no reason (to believe) that anyone else was involved.”
In 2021, Green had an annual salary of $80,615, according to govsalaries.com. The salary was 162 percent higher than average and 274 percent higher than median salary in Columbia City Civil City, the website stated.
This is a developing story and we will update the story as more details emerge.