Former Ocean Shores Chamber director charged with felony theft

Former Ocean Shores Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Piper Marie Leslie has been charged with second-degree theft of Chamber funds.

In a motion and declaration for order of summons from Grays Harbor Superior Court dated Aug. 4, Leslie is charged with writing unauthorized extra paychecks for herself while serving as Chamber director. Her first court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 14.

According to the order of summons, when Leslie’s successor, McNall Mason, took over as executive director, she began requesting financial records and soon became aware that the Chamber’s finances were “in dismal shape.”

After involving the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office in the investigation and extensive review of the records, about $11,000 appeared to be missing and unexplained, according to court records. Due to insufficient records, the disposition of those funds is unclear, the order of summons read.

“However, one thing that was clear in the investigation is that the defendant was writing extra paychecks to herself, which were not approved and totaled well in excess of the $750 threshold for theft in the second degree,” a Class C felony, according to the order of summons, signed by deputy prosecuting attorney Karleen M. Dorn. It went on to say that Mason determined Leslie had written four extra paychecks to herself in 2018 and two in 2019 — the most recent in May, the same month Leslie announced her resignation from the Chamber.

Leslie served as executive director from January 2017 until she resigned effective July 1, 2019. The Chamber dissolved later that summer.

When she announced her resignation in May 2019, she said, “It’s become very clear to me in the last few months that some of the public perception of me is that I’m not the right fit for the Chamber. So, in the best interest of the Chamber, and my mental health, it’s clear that it’s time for me to step aside and let a new director come in — hopefully with some new vision for how to continue to keep the Chamber relevant.”