HAMILTON, Mont. - An accounting firm hired to do a forensic examination of Ravalli County government finances, reports "no evidence of fraud or embezzlement." The investigation came after the county's embattled treasurer, Valerie Stamey, accused county officials of widespread corruption.
In January, Ravalli County commissioners placed Stamey on paid administrative leave, after the county was threatened with state fines for failing to distribute tax revenue as prescribed by state law.
County Attorney Bill Fulbright launched a two-pronged investigation -- one criminal and the other a forensic accounting examination of county finances.
In April, the criminal investigation by retired District Court Judge Nels Swandal came back with a report of no evidence of criminal activity.
Today, we learned the results of the accounting investigation done by the Anderson ZurMuehlen accounting firm.
In the 15-page report, Anderson ZurMuehlen finds "no fraud or embezzlement," but it did find a department in disarray so extensive, it took four months to bring county records current.
The report says most of the problems were linked to a lack of proper training, poor communication and no written policies or procedures.
Recommendations for corrective action include numerous operational procedures for oversight, monthly meetings, financial reconciliations in a timely manner, and written policies and procedures.
Fulbright says the report offers necessary information for the County Commission to move forward in dealings with Valerie Stamey and the Treasurer's Office she was appointed to lead.