HAMILTON, Mont. -

An independent auditing firm says Ravalli County's accounting mess happened because the office of the treasurer failed to fulfill its duties.
    
The Ravalli Republic reports (http://bit.ly/MmZVUK) that Jim Woy of Anderson Zurmuehlen of Butte filed a status report Friday with Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fulbright after the first two weeks of investigation.
    
Treasurer Valerie Stamey was put on paid leave on Jan. 23 after falling months behind in depositing money and providing disbursements and financial reports. She has claimed the county's books were a mess when she was appointed in September. She alleged files were missing and that the office had allowed tax liens to be sold illegally.
    
Fulbright announced Friday that retired District Judge Nels Swandal will lead an independent investigation into those allegations.