EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) Former Evansville Parks and Recreations Director Brian Holtz, facing charges of fraud, forgery, counterfeiting and official misconduct, enters a not guilty plea Tuesday.

He faced a judge for the first time, since Monday’s arrest. Holtz walked in to the courtroom at the civic center this afternoon with his lawyer, Mark Foster, for his first hearing since the 12 felony counts were filed against him for his alleged actions dating back to 2017.

He didn’t say anything as he walked by the cameras on his way in and out of the courtroom.A not guilty plea was entered for him in the case, which was also moved to superior court because of a conflict of interest mentioned by the judge. Holtz is accused of altering invoices or purchase orders, entering into contracts he was not allowed to sign off on, and forging signatures. The alleged actions are connected to several recent parks projects, including the construction of Mickey’s Kingdom and the Deaconess Aquatic Center, which both opened while he was in charge of the parks department.

Holtz resigned last summer after the investigation started. Evansville police say while there’s no evidence of Holtz personally benefited from the alleged incidents, or stole any money during that time, but the controller’s office estimates it cost the city more than $360 000.

As for how the city is expected to cover that estimated loss, a spokesman for Mayor Winnecke says they cannot answer that question so far since they’re still waiting for the report from the state board of accounts, which he said yesterday could be close to done. But a spokeswoman for the Indiana State Board of Accounts says that report could be done in a few months.

(This story was originally published on April 26, 2022)