Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Valerie Stamey in Ravalli County – ‘The First of Many’ [AUDIO]
A lawsuit filed on behalf of suspended Ravalli County Treasurer Valerie Stamey on Tuesday, February 18, is 'the first of many', according to Ms. Stamey's attorney, Robert Myers.
The lawsuit, which alleges that Ms. Stamey was libeled by James Woy and the firm of Anderson Zurmuehlen, PC, was filed in Ravalli County District Court.
Ms. Stamey's attorney, Robert Myers said that Mr. Woy libeled her when he wrote in an interim report released last Friday that reads 'it is apparent that the duties of the Ravalli County Treasurer were not properly executed.'
"If you look at what was quoted in there, they made an assertation of fact without actually checking into it at all," Myers said. "That's the part where they get into trouble, because that was reckless, and that's all you need for New York Times to get past into malice is that you didn't even bother to check it out. I also don't think there are first amendment issues that you normally would have here. What you have is a professional individual not doing their duty and stating things about someone without even contacting them."
Myers wrote to the Ravalli County Commissioners on Tuesday that the suit against Mr. Woy stating that is 'is the first of many lawsuits'.
"Hopefully, I've got two more by the end of the week, and the big one is about two to three weeks out," Myers said. "It's just necessary. There have been so many different parties who have engaged in trying to harm my client and her reputation, The stuff that has been said about her has harmed her. You're talking mental anguish, you're talking the inability to really get on with her life or to do her job, or to function. She has been under constant assault."
Myers claims that one reason why Stamey has not fought to return to her county treasurer position is that there have been illegal activities in the office.
"As you go through that document you're going to see that there were just way too many abilities for people to interfere with her doing her job, including criminal activity," Myers said. "They were fabricating evidence. They were actually tampering with public records, with a fear that they would try to frame her."
In addition, Myers questions why Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fulbright is using county funds to hire retired judge Nels Swandal to conduct an investigation into the charges of corruption in the county.
"That is the oddest thing I've ever seen," Myers said. "Why not just go directly to the state attorney general's office? Why is the county spending money when you already have an entity up there (in Helena)? We've gone to the FBI, and we've even spoken to the Department of Justice. This is a private individual being paid to do a criminal investigation. Nothing against Nels Swandal in the least, but it's very odd."
Myers hinted at what the final lawsuit might be about.
"There is one final tort here, one final course of action that sort of explains things so well," Myers said. "That is going to be our final destination on this. It's so complex. We were looking at multiple little lawsuits against many, many people, but there's really one thing that explains it all fairly well. If someone acts recklessly without regard either to the truthfulness or falsehood of something, it's where the first amendment meets a right to your reputation."
Attorney for Valerie Stamey, Robert Myers