HAMILTON, Mont. - NBC Montana is tracking new developments Tuesday as commissioners decide to file suit against Ravalli County's embattled treasurer.
In a packed meeting, commissioners voted unanimously to fine Valerie Stamey nearly $30,000.
Stamey was appointed to the Ravalli County Treasurer's position last year. Now, she's under fire for the way she ran the office. She's accused of keeping unbalanced books, no payments to some local governments, and no proof of deposits.
Commissioners agreed to fine Stamey for neglect or refusal to perform her duties as treasurer. The board said Stamey failed to make detailed financial reports and payments to Ravalli County and its entities.
Commissioners identified 58 infractions. Late reports and missing payments left school districts, fire departments, municipalities, libraries, irrigation districts and other venues trying to deal with at least four months of unbalanced books.
"We made a very conservative decision based on factual findings that were given to us by our partners. As far as not making these reports, not making payments that were required, and they to this day have not received reports," said Ravalli County Commissioner Greg Chilcott.
Stamey faces $29,000 in personal penalties under state statute.
Stamey did not attend the meeting, but she did say in a statement there is no merit to the commissioners' claims.
Last Friday in a report to Ravalli County commissioners an independent audit firm reported "the office of Ravalli County Treasurer has not fulfilled its duties."
Tuesday, we received a complaint from Stamey's attorney. She's filing a suit of her own, claiming the audit firm, Anderson Zurmehlen, and accountant James Woy had libeled Stamey.
The complaint claims it was impossible for Stamey to exercise her duties when she was physically prevented from continuing her work. In fact, the complaint claims there was a concerted effort to prevent the treasurer from executing her duties before she came to the office.
Stamey's attorney said the complaint would be filed late this afternoon.
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