New allegations surface against embattled Ravalli Co. treasurer


HAMILTON, Mont. - Valerie Stamey is under fire for the way she has run the Ravalli County Treasurer's office. It's about unbalanced books, no payments to some local governments and no proof of deposits.

Now, according to court records from South Carolina, there is a judgment against Stamey for more than $17,000. But it's filed under a different name she uses, Valerie Addis.

The Bitterroot Star, a family-owned weekly newspaper in Stevensville, broke the story Wednesday.

Court papers show Stamey was served with the lawsuit in 2010 in the parking of the the Missoula School District. Back then, she worked as the food services supervisor.

The judgment stems from a claim Stamey refinanced her house, and misused the money.

Bitterroot Star reporter Michael Howell quoted from the records said that Stamey "took the check and sent it to her credit card company, making double payments."

Howell said they are allegations in a complaint that was filed against her in South Carolina.

The records said Discover reimbursed Stamey for $14,000, but the company that cut her refinance check alleges it was left holding the bag, except for an eventual $750 payment. That $17,000 judgment against Stamey is still open.

NBC Montana made several attempts to obtain comment from Stamey on the matter, but county staff members told NBC Montana that Stamey was not available. Stamey also declined to comment on her way out of the County building parking lot area on Wednesday.

Stamey's appointment is generating several calls a day to the Ravalli County Commissioner's Office.

Administrative assistant Glenda Wiles said so far, most of the messages have been critical of commissioners for appointing her.

Commissioners Suzy Foss, Jeff Burrows and Ron Stoltz all voted for her. Foss and Burrows declined to talk about the South Carolina allegations until they could learn more about them. But Burrows said Stamey's job interview and resume were excellent.

In Ravalli County, many past treasurers spent years working in the office in other positions, before rising through the ranks.

Some say it gives them grounding and experience to tackle the top job.

In Stamey, Foss said, she saw a fresh passion for serving the community.

"We have a department for over 40 years that has been breeding their own next person," said Foss, and every business needs to have an expansion of ideas and thoughts and certainly management skills."

On Tuesday, after months of delay, the county bypassed the treasurer's office and cut checks to 17 entities.

Hamilton City Finance Administrator Craig Shepherd picked up a $1 million check and a $192,000 check for a strapped library.

Shepherd said, "Anybody is welcome to run for it, but I think in this case, to keep the transition going smoothly, that there could have been other things the commissioners could have done."

County Human Resources Director Robert Jenni said because it involves personnel issues he is "limited in his ability to discuss the situation."