The off-again, on-again case against former Ravalli County Treasurer Valerie Stamey is on again, after county officials asked a judge to find the elusive woman in default for not answering a summons regarding nearly $150,000 in fines she owes.

Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fullbright recounted the search for Stamey after she disappeared from the area for over two years after throwing the treasurer's office into chaos, and filed suit against the county for wrongful termination.

"At this point we have asked the court to find her in default for not answering the complaint," Fullbright began, "After a long period of time we were able to locate her, and once we found her, we had a process server in South Carolina tracking her and then managed to get actual personal service upon her which she had avoided for some time. There has been more than sufficient time for her to respond, so we asked the court to bring a default judgment, which would bring the case to a conclusion."

Fullbright details the amounts owed by Stamey to Ravalli County.

"One of them is the $29,000 in penalties that are statutory for her failure to perform her duties, so the commissioners have found her in default of those," he said. "Then, there's just in excess of $111,000 as compensation for the various funds expended in trying to put the office back together, to audit the monies that were in the treasurer's office back when she was suspended, and eventually terminated."

Fullbright said if Judge Langton issues a default judgment, they could execute on Stamey's assets, such as a bank levy.

"That would ultimately be a decision for the commissioners to make on how aggressive they want to be in the collection of that money," Fullbright said.

Fullbright and the county commission had to restructure the treasurer's office and bring in a former federal judge to investigate, and an outside accounting firm to conduct a thorough audit and clean up the situation before a new treasurer could be appointed.


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