Pismo Beach Chamber clams up over missing funds

September 28, 2010


The former chief executive officer for the Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce is under investigation for allegedly embezzling thousands of dollars from the chamber.

Rebecca McMurry left the chamber in May, shortly after the annual Taste of Pismo. There are allegations that cash donations failed to show up in the deposit receipt at a time when the chamber treasurer position had gone unfilled for almost a year.

McMurry did not return requests for comment.

“We don’t know how much money is missing from the event (Taste of Pismo). Our suspicion is a few dollars, ” said chamber interim treasurer Tony Wells.

The allegations have created a divide between those who would like the issue to go away and those who want law enforcement officials to investigate. Some Pismo Beach residents and officials are also in disagreement over the amount of money missing and how the alleged embezzlement should be dealt with.

Some city residents and business owners suspect the amount of funds missing is in the $100,000 range and accuse the chamber of attempting to keep the issue quiet to protect its reputation.

Wells contends the allegations had nothing to do with McMurry’s resignation. He said he investigated the allegations of missing funds and could only verify $13,000 in credit card purchases for personal items.

“If she took just credit cards, our events made up for that,” Wells said. “We don’t want to paint her as a bad person.”

Wells also said that the Pismo Beach Police Department and the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s office were investigating the allegations.

However, though someone from the chamber did inform police that there were missing funds, the police have not yet began an investigation or turned their findings over to the district attorney’s office.

“We are trying to get someone from the chamber to get the information over to us,” said Jake Miller, Pismo Beach Police Commander. “We just need them to come forward at this point and provide us with some documentation.”

The chamber is funded through member dues, events and the city’s general fund. Wells noted that the credit cards McMurry used to buy personal items were affiliated with event accounts and not supported by city monies.

However, the city of Pismo Beach provides the chamber a total of $104,754 a year, which breaks down as $67,254 for the Visitor Information Center, 13,500 for the Visitor Information Kiosk, $10,000 for the Fourth of July event, $10,000 for the Clam Festival and $5,000 for band review, according to Susan West-Jones, account manager for the city of Pismo Beach.

“Suellen Iness (chamber president and interim CEO) and I are saying to leave this alone,” Wells said. “I would appreciate it if you would keep your mouth shut.”



  1. bystander says:

    What is she good at? Deceiving people? Presenting herself as something she is not? Stealing public funds? Lying? Who from chamber provided her references to the new job?

    (4) 6 Total Votes - 5 up - 1 down
    • justwords says:

      Pismo Beach City Council bestowed upon her a proclamation honoring her service with the Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce.

      This was followed by a public comment from Tony Wells, thanking Ms McMurry for her wonderful service to the chamber. This is very interesting considering the Chamber Board were already aware of her misappropriation of funds…I know there is one board member who would have given her a reference…this turns out to be a pretty sad situation.

      (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
    • Typoqueen says:

      Assuming innocence before guilt, she was good a many things. Rebecca’s is a very hard worker. I remember seeing her work countless hours at city functions such as the car shows and the clam festival. She would go booth to booth asking the merchants if they needed anything. I remember seeing her hauling ice and running around doing everything from picking up garbage to organizing entertainment. She worked tirelessly for local merchants by going to meetings, fund raising (hopefully not for herself) and basically helping to put Pismo on the tourist map by constantly finding ways to promote the city. It saddens me to see so many jump on the band wagon and assume that she must be guilty. If she’s innocent of these charges none of you will apologize, you will still insist that she must be guilty. I like and respect that this country assumes innocence until proven guilty and if I’m wrong about Rebecca then I will have no problem admitting to it.

      (0) 6 Total Votes - 3 up - 3 down
      • bystander says:

        Working hard making herself look good so no one suspects anything and also keeping her fingers on everything!

        (8) 8 Total Votes - 8 up - 0 down
    • oto says:

      Music….I hear music…..CA–CHING! Pismo’s response sounds like there are more than one fingers in the Chamber’s “pie.” Does the State’s Bureau of Audits oversee the City’s facilitation of felony embezzlement and misappropriation of funds, or does the FBI get first dibbs?

      (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  2. SLOBIRD says:

    Ms McMurry sure moves fast. She has moved to Portland, OR and is working for Bradshaw Advertising, a full advertising agency specializing in brand advertising as an account executive. In this ecomony she got a job just like that… She’s good! They actually did a press release and listed her as being the CEO for the Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce.

    (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
    • Cindy says:

      Wow, Did anyone send a copy of this article to the CEO at Bradshaw?

      (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
    • bystander says:

      What is she good att? Deceiving people? Presenting herself as something she is not? Stealing public funds? Lying? Who from chamber provided her references to the new job?

      (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
  3. R.Hodin says:

    How quickly people forget that Pismo Beach has a history of corruption and self-dealing as long as a clam fork (whatever that is)

    (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down
  4. undertow says:

    Wake up Meanqueen, if it wasent for individuals like Karen this county would quickly become as corrupt as any third world country……oh wait we already are. leaving this type if investigation to be performed “internally” is why this type of corruption exists,this is a perfect example,they didnt want us to know. Personally Im tired of distributing my wealth with these crooks and it needs to stop NOW!. The residents of this county should praise Karen for her investigative work and exposing these who are dishonest or corrupt.
    Thank You Karen!!!!!!!!!!!

    (9) 9 Total Votes - 9 up - 0 down

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