More controversy in the Ravalli County treasurer's office. Valerie Stamey's appearance Tuesday in front of the county commissioners took a surprise twist.
Stamey is under fire for late deposits and payments and unbalanced books. She was scheduled to deliver a treasurer's report to commissioners.
But instead of a report on the current state of the treasurer's books, she delivered a scathing indictment against a half dozen current and former county employees.
She called her own office a "crime scene of past illegal activity."
NBC Montana has found out the state revenue department may penalize Ravalli County if three months worth of delinquent reports aren't turned in soon.
Stamey told commissioners and a roomful of spectators that what you see in the papers is an orchestrated and vile campaign to destroy her character to protect "corrupt County Commissioner J.R. Iman, who's been protected by Commission Chair Greg Chilcott."
"The further purposes of this character assassination," said Stamey, "were to cover up missing files that were intentionally removed from the Treasurer's Office by Joanne Johnson."
Stamey went on to accuse county treasurer workers past and present, and even involved the county's chief financial officer.
If anybody was expecting a treasurer's report on late deposits and payments to scores of government entities and ordinary taxpayers, it wasn't the message Stamey delivered.
Stamey said she found corruption in the treasurer's office and it goes all the way to the commissioners. And she claims to be the victim.
"A vile campaign," Stamey called it, "to destroy my character."
Stamey went on to say, "the further purposes of this character assassination were to cover up missing files that were removed from the Treasurer's office by Joanne Johnson."
Johnson is a former county treasurer. She quit after commissioners appointed Stamey. So did Johnson's colleagues, Mary Borden and Linda Isaacs.
"These missing files contained receipts and documenting including expenditures of federal monies," said Stamey, "and to hide the illegal selling tax liens by Linda Isaacs and Mary Borden."
Stamey said she will bring suit against these parties.
Johnson had no comment. But her sister LaVonne Miller did.
"Whatever Val is trying to pull out of the slums," said Miller, "is not true. Joanne tried to teach Val and it didn't work."
Former tax clerk Borden said, "Our work speaks for itself. We have done nothing wrong."
Former head tax clerk Isaacs called it "a smoke screen to cover up what Stamey herself has done wrong."
But Stamey went on. And she focused on commissioner Iman.
"I have contacted and am requesting a full investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation," said Stamey.
She said Iman deprived her of personal access to the treasurer's bank accounts and prohibited her from learning the combination to the treasurer's safe.
Stamey said she pleaded with commissioners Greg Chilcott and Jeff Burrows to do something about Iman. But she said her pleas fell on deaf ears.
After the meeting, Iman told NBC Montana it's premature to say anything. He had no comment.
Chilcott said he was disappointed.