Tillicum community center executive director Karen Priest has been removed from her position by the center's board of directors.
The board made the decision Tuesday after learning Priest had been charged Monday in Pierce County Superior Court over two theft allegations related to her personal finances.
The decision to let Priest go was difficult for board President Bill Hubbard, a longtime friend.
"The board made the decision, and I carried through with it, " he said. "This was just an unfortunate circumstance that we couldn't have."
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Hubbard declined further comment about the reason for the decision but suggested it was due to a combination of the theft charges and recent scrutiny of the center's finances by the city of Lakewood.
The city's concerns resulted in the center not receiving much-needed federal grant funding this year. It is the first time in 14 years the city hasn't awarded money to the center, which runs a food bank, clothing bank and other services.
Priest was hired in 2007 to run the center.
"She was very conscientious; she loved people, " Hubbard said Friday. "She did an awful lot for the center and helped the community."
The board is running daily operations until an interim director is hired.
"Everything is normal; that hasn't changed, " Hubbard said. "We're getting our stuff back together again."
That includes restoring the community center's nonprofit status, which was revoked by the Internal Revenue Service in May 2012, and its tax-exempt status, which also lapsed in 2012 and resulted in the center owing more than $37,000 in property taxes.