In Missoula federal court this week, a judge ruled that former Ravalli County Treasurer Valerie Stamey’s $20 million lawsuit against county commissioners, a local newspaper and others had no merit and dismissed the action.

Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fulbright, reached in Missoula on Friday, provided a short history of the county’s dealing with Ms. Stamey.

“Ms. Stamey was appointed treasurer several years ago, and the commissioners determined that she was not doing her job,” Fulbright said. “It wasn’t long before issues began popping up like money that was not being deposited and it was literally lying in her office for extended periods of time. The commissioners ended up terminating her.”

Fulbright said that was just the beginning of a protracted legal battle with Stamey.

“We needed to know whether that money was accounted for, and so the county hired a respected accounting firm to do a complete audit,” he said. “Eventually, all the money was found and accounted for. At the same time, Ms. Stamey’s response to being called on the carpet was to make a number of allegations of corruption against the county commissioners. At that point, to be fair, I wanted to determine whether or not her allegations were true or false, so we had retired federal judge Nels Swandal do an independent investigation, and he found there was nothing to support her allegations of corruption by the commissioners.”

Fulbright expressed relief that this chapter with Ms. Stamey has been closed by the court.

“At this point,” he said. “There’s only so much squawking and yelling you can do, and we’re at a point where if there are further filings we’ll seriously think about filing a counter claim for frivolous filings and all the expenses and costs for fighting them.”

Stamey disappeared for several years during the period, and was eventually found to be living in South Carolina.

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