Evansville Parks director resigns amid investigation into ‘inappropriate’ invoices

Published: Jul. 17, 2021 at 1:10 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2021 at 9:55 AM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - An investigation is underway at the Evansville Department of Parks and Recreation.

On Friday night, the Evansville Police Department confirmed the city administration requested officers to look into an “unordinary” situation within the parks department.

Chief Billy Bolin tells us the Financial Crimes Unit of the department was investigating. Thursday, city officials said the investigation is now being handled by the State Board of Accounts. The city is paying the cost of the investigation.

Mayor Lloyd Winnecke says it started Tuesday when the city’s finance department told him about two questionable invoices from the Department of Parks and Recreation.

During the investigation by EPD, officials discovered five more “questionable” invoices, for a total seven.

Mayor Winnecke calls them “inappropriate.”

The Mayor says, right now, there is no missing city money, but he says an outside agency will be brought in for a forensic review of the department.

“Even though there is no evidence at this time of missing city funds,” says Mayor Winnecke, “the lack of clarity in the matter has impacted my confidence in the management of the parks department.”

Mayor Winnecke announced Monday that he has accepted the resignation of Parks and Recreation Executive Director Brian Holtz.

Deputy Mayor Steve Schaefer will assume management of the Parks Department for the time being.

Mayor Winnecke got emotional during Monday’s press conference, calling the situation “very personal and very disappointing.”

The Mayor appointed Holtz, who oversaw more than 60 park properties.

Mayor Winnecke says all current Parks and Recreation programs will go on as scheduled, despite Monday’s announcement.

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