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Auditors issue initial report on treasurer’s office failures


By Michael Howell

The County got its first response from the independent auditing firm, Anderson-Zurmuehlen, that is conducting an audit of the Treasurer’s office following the placement of Ravalli County Treasurer Valerie Stamey on administrative leave.

“At this point it is apparent the duties of the Ravalli County Treasurer were not properly executed and the state of the Treasurer’s office was in disarray,” reported lead auditor Jim Woy in a memo written to the County Attorney’s office last Thursday, February 13. Woy states that due to the volume of the work not performed in the Treasurer’s office during the past several months, more time will be required to complete the examination and catch up on the work than was originally anticipated.

Woy reports that progress is being made in the examination of the office and that agencies dependent upon monthly statements from the Treasurer’s office may receive updates covering up to the end of the past year for their review within the next few weeks.

It is expected, wrote Woy, that the Ravalli County Finance department will complete the reconciliation of all county bank statements for review and plans to have all cash reconciliations for July and August 2013 completed by Friday, February 21. All remaining reconciliations are expected to be completed by March 20.

Woy also states that the Treasurer’s office personnel intends to have all agency deposits, receipts and disbursements information that is known based on what has been obtained in the Treasurer’s office, posted by February 28, 2014.

He also gave some details about what was found in the Treasurer’s office after Stamey was placed on administrative leave.

“On the day Ms. Stamey was put on leave we accounted for $952,372.78 located in the Treasurer’s office and not deposited. We obtained copies of all subsequent deposit slips totaling $779,697.37 made by County employees from the time Ms. Stamey was put on leave through January 31, 2014.

“We noted that even after the checks that were taken out of the Treasurer’s office by County personnel there were still a large number of checks (hundreds) that were not deposited. There were numerous piles of paperwork located throughout the office that had been left incomplete. We completed the count of this cash in the Treasurer’s office on Tuesday February 4th, 2014. There was $172,675.41 of currency and checks ($171,197.68 in checks and $1,477.73in currency).

“As of February 14, 2014, most of the funds have been receipted and deposited. We will schedule out the status of all cash items and opine on it in our final report,” states the memo.

Woy noted that two agencies had reported currency discrepancies. He said whether any discrepancies remain once the reconciliations are completed will be determined in a confirmation process prior to a final report.

He also noted that the mills for the county open space bond were not properly updated on the current year tax statements. He said they could be recalculated and updated for next year’s tax statements. Other mill levies are being examined to see if they were allocated appropriately and this will appear in the final report.

County Attorney Bill Fulbright said in an accompanying press release that the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation would await the independent audit results before they will consider an investigation.

“However, due to the number and type of allegations of criminal and civil misconduct that recently have been made by Ms, Stamey and others, I believe that a broader independent investigation remains necessary,” wrote Fulbright.

Fulbright stated that retired District Court Judge Nels Swandal is conducting that independent investigation. He notes that Judge Swandal recently retired from the bench after 18 years as the District Court Judge in Park and Sweet Grass Counties, prior to which he served for 12 years as the Park County Attorney. Judge Swandal is also retired from the US Army JAG Corps, after 30 years of active and reserve duty with the US Army, Army Reserves and Montana National Guard.

“While I cannot comment further on the ongoing investigation, I will provide any information I can as it becomes available on the progress of the audit team and the findings of the independent investigation,” wrote Fulbright.

5 Responses to Auditors issue initial report on treasurer’s office failures
  1. Bill laCroix
    February 20, 2014 | 2:49 am

    I guess the simple truth is that there’s a hard-core voting bloc of flat-worlders here. They truly believe that the best thing that could happen is that their end of the world happens sooner rather than later. The Republicans (read “developers”) have been pandering to and relying on this bloc of voters for years, decades probably, and it will take every one of us who believe the Earth is at least concave to activate, educate, and agitate to change this developer-whacko dynamic. Seriously, this kind of lynch-mob politics is common in many rural communities throughout the inland west. Corporatism linked with fundamentalism is a recipe for fascism. Hitler was voted in, too. Times were different then, but a lot of things were the same as now, and we’d be wise to learn our lessons from where we can at this point. Guess what happens when you don’t stand up as a block and resist something as evil as a political organization that promotes the likes of Jason Priest over Medicaid Expansion? Careless comparisons to Hitler have become so cliche as to be almost meaningless, but I honestly don’t think I’m being careless. The shoe fits.

  2. David Irwin
    February 19, 2014 | 7:36 pm

    I can’t believe how corrupt Ravalli County is and the extent that the Republican Central Committee controls governance here. How many scandals will it take to get voters to understand that they have been actively mislead?

  3. Larry Campbell
    February 19, 2014 | 5:38 pm

    Google information on ‘Nels Swandal’ to find out how independent we can expect him to be. Despite the non-partisan expectation of judges, he is quoted as saying he has “no problem” being linked to the “Tea Party movement”. And he apparently violated the judicial code of conduct by soliciting funds for a judicial candidate while he was a sitting judge.

  4. Bill laCroix
    February 19, 2014 | 4:53 pm

    Thanks again, Michael. As many of us know, Judge Swandel is not an unbiased individual, and it’s no surprise Fulbright and he are colluding on this. During the 2010 election cycle, the same knee jerk election year that swept so many tea baggers into office to plague us, Swandal made a bid for a vacant seat on the MT Supreme Court. Just like Fulbright and the three commissioners in R. County, he used the anti-non-white-guy-in-the-white-house climate of hysteria to feel free expressing his far-right views. He lost, but there’s no evidence he’s changed his views. Don’t expect clarity with Fulbright’s contribution to this mess. Maybe it’s so bad nobody can cover it up and the rats will abandon the ship. But expect obfuscation if it’s at all possible. Fulbright in fact was involved in shady $$ dealings in CA before he came up here. Went thru a bankruptcy over it. People lost money. All this was published and known before the 2010 elections when Bill and the three got the paranoid nod. Heads up.

  5. Oasischris
    February 19, 2014 | 1:51 am

    The debacle continues, at the expense of the taxpayers. Let us hope those who vote will remember who put this person (who evidently has a personality disorder of perhaps several sorts) into the treasurer’s seat.

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