The Essex Regional Conservation Authority announced the resignation of its general manager Friday.
The news of GM Richard Wyma's departure comes a month after the organization reported that it lost $300,00 to a phishing scam when a fraudster pretended to be an internal staff member. In a media release at the beginning of September, ERCA said someone sent a "complex phishing email" to a member of their staff to trick them out of the money.
ERCA's board of directors chair Kieran McKenzie told CBC News Friday that Wyma's departure didn't necessarily come as a "surprise."
He followed that by saying, "I'm sure it's no secret that the conservation authority is dealing with a measure of controversy, that being said Richard, as I mentioned and I've stated publicly has 11 years of excellent service to the conservation authority. Certainly we thank him for that service, he's leaving the community in a better place."
As for whether Wyma stepped back because of the current scandal, McKenzie said "that's a tough question for me to answer," adding that he didn't want to "speculate about what may have been [Wyma's] motivations" for leaving.
McKenzie said Wyma's departure has been evolving over the last week or so and was set in motion earlier this week.
CBC News reached out to Wyma for comment but he has not yet responded.
As for the investigation, ERCA last reported that two transactions were made to two falsified bank accounts, the first being an e-transfer of $61,876 on July 14, followed by a second request on July 27 for an amount of approximately $230,865.
The conservation authority said that none of money affected by the fraud was from the Essex Region Conservation Foundation, which means no funds from donors have been impacted.
Once it found out about the fraud, ERCA says it reported the unauthorized payments to its bank, and notified their insurer and the Ontario Provincial Police. Additional "internal controls," it says, were also implemented to prevent any future occurrences.
The authority also confirmed that its IT systems weren't further compromised throughout the fraud.
An internal and criminal investigation are still ongoing, McKenzie confirmed.
"We are very engaged in a very robust process to identify what were the vulnerabilities that potentially led to the scam being successful and have already made progress with respect to improving some of those processes and that work is ongoing," he said.
Moving forward McKenzie said he's not sure when the investigation will be complete but that they will continue to update the public. He says the board will now start to look to fill the general manager role.
In the meantime, the conservation authority's director of watershed management services Tim Byrne is the interim GM.