When now-suspended Ravalli County Treasurer Valerie Stamey claimed the Bitterroot Star made an in-kind ad donation for her husband's political campaign in 2010 on KGVO Radio's Talk Back Show, an official of that newspaper says she was lying.

Bitterroot Star Business Manager Victoria Howell said on Friday, February 14, that Stamey was lying about the ad being a donation to the legislative campaign of her husband, Richard Stamey.

"They (the Stameys) claimed that the Bitterroot Star had donated an ad, so they called that an in-kind contribution of some kind," Howell said. "That is not true. We do not donate advertising to political candidates."

When asked if Stamey was not telling the truth about the supposed in-kind contribution, Howell simply replied, "that is correct."

Stamey claimed one of the ads produced by the Bitterroot Star contained a photo that was 'illegible', and the Star would simply donate the cost of the ad, however, Howell said both the ads they produced were of good quality.

Howell said the bill for the unpaid ad from 2010 is still outstanding.

"I believe it's $162.75, Howell said. "That's not a lot of money, but the money isn't the issue. Apparently the Commissioner of Political Practices ruled that it's not really about the money, it's about the public's trust. This is someone who wants to hold a position of tremendous public trust, handling millions of dollars of taxpayer money. So, the fact that she lied about this is really troubling."

Howell said the Bitterroot Star continued to send the bill to the Stameys for over a year, but it was never paid.

Stamey appeared on KGVO's Talk Back talk show on Thursday, February 13, to defend herself against what she claimed were untrue accusations against her.

Stamey went on to claim that the treasurer's office was a hostile work environment, and that at least two county commissioners were corrupt in the matter of selling property through tax liens.

As was reported on Friday, Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fulbright released an interim report from a private accounting firm, stating that a great deal of work had been left undone, and the audit would take longer than expected. Fulbright also said that retired judge Nels Swandal would be handling the investigations made both by Ms. Stamey against various county officials, as well as the charges leveled at Stamey herself.

Business Manager for the Bitterroot Star Victoria Howell



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