Ex-State Fair Finance Director pleads not guilty to theft

Ex-State Fair Finance Director pleads not guilty to theft

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The former finance chief of the Nebraska State Fair has pleaded not guilty to felony theft charges. Twenty-nine-year-old Patrick Kopke is charged with three counts of felony theft by unlawful taking.

A state audit found that a company he created was paid nearly $150,000 in state fair funds but there were no invoices proving the company did any work for the fair. Auditors allege Kopke used bank accounts connected to the company to pay more than $100,000 in personal expenses.

Kopke had been scheduled for arraignment Tuesday but waived the court appearance. He resigned from the state fair last year.