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(Updated) Anacortes Police are investigating what Island Hospital Foundation calls a “significant theft” without saying just how much money is missing.

The revelation came in a September 10 letter signed by Dr. Mark Backman, president of the foundation’s board, sent to donors. The letter did not specify how much money was missing, but said insurance would probably cover much of the loss.

Backman's letter also said the foundation's Development Director "has been discharged," without naming the person. However, the Development Director has been Bernadette Stanek.

“At this point we cannot supply any further details as we wish to respect the investigation, and in no way want to adversely affect that process,” the letter said. In addition, the letter said, "The Foundation Board has begun the work of understanding what permitted this to occur, and we will develop more secure systems to prevent anything like this from ever occurring again."

Read full text of Dr Mark Backman's letter (pdf)

Island Hospital Community Relations Director Dennis Richards, acting as the foundation's spokesman, said the loss was reported to police when it was discovered late last month. He said a foundation employee had been discharged.

The foundation is a major money-raiser in Anacortes. Their Development Director, Bernadette Stanek, reported they raised $250,000 at their annual Gala of Hope event last April 26. And, their 2013 annual report said they had donated nearly $563,000 in support of Island Hospital.

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