Ravalli Co. Treasurer Responds To Investigation Results - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Ravalli Co. Treasurer Responds To Investigation Results

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MISSOULA -

The Ravalli County Treasurer said the results of an investigation into official misconduct by Ravalli County Commissioners are not truthful. The investigation looked at claims of corruption Treasurer Valerie Stamey made against commissioners and other county officials.

The eight-page report on the results of the investigation, by retired judge Nels Swandal, was released on Thursday. Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fulbright called for the investigation when county treasurer Valerie Stamey made claims county commissioners were taking part in "crimes" and even had a "cover up".

"I found it to be very contradictory. It seems that Mr. Swandal makes statements more like a marriage counselor, he always says I understand how this person feels, and I understand how this person feels," Stamey said.

The harsh words come after an investigation by Swandal confirms her claims that problems exist in the treasurer's office, but finds no evidence exists that any "crime" by county officials ever occurred.

"We felt that he was intimidating and certainly did not intend to represent this in a true, open fashion," Stamey said.

Swandal's investigation comes after months of back and forth accusations between county commissioners and Stamey, which started when Stamey fell months behind in financial reports.

"We looked for someone independent who didn't have any connection or a dog in the fight, so to speak. Judge Swandal is a long time attorney and district court judge in Park County," said Bill Fulbirght.

Fulbright called for a two-part investigation after the hearing. One part, an audit into all of the county treasurer's files, another taking a look at allegations against commissioners and other officials.

In the investigation, Swandal interviewed 18 county officials, addressing four of Stamey's claims.

"At this point there's no evidence of criminal conduct, going through each area she's made claims about," Fulbright said.

One accusation said commissioner Iman prevented her from having access to the treasurer's bank account, another that staff removed files from the office. Others said county commissioners were illegally selling tax liens, and that county commissioners were engaging in criminal activity. Again, Swandal found no signs of criminal activity.

"I certainly didn't anticipate anything else. I wouldn't believe that a gentleman paid for by the commissioners, would have found any criminal activity among the commissioners," Stamey said.

A separate investigation by the FBI is looking into Stamey's allegations. There's no word on when it will come to an end. 

The audit looking into the treasurer's office is still ongoing, as well as the FBI's investigations into her claims against the county. Fulbright said his office will wait and see if evidence of crimes, if any, under Montana law is found in that pending investigation.

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