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Commissioners seek $29K fine against treasurer

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HAMILTON, Mont. (AP) - Ravalli County commissioners have decided to file a lawsuit seeking $29,000 in fines from the interim county treasurer for failing to complete dozens of financial reports over a three-month period.

State law allows county commissioners to seek $500 for each report missed. Commissioners determined Tuesday that Valerie Stamey failed to file 58 reports.

Meanwhile, Stamey, who is on paid administrative leave, said Tuesday she planned to file a lawsuit that afternoon to file a lawsuit alleging an auditor hired by the county libeled her by reporting that the duties of the treasurer were not properly executed, the treasurer's office was in disarray and that nearly $1 million in deposits hadn't been made. A copy of the lawsuit sent out by Stamey's attorney Robert Myers said she was seeking a $10 million judgment.

The clerk of District Court in Ravalli County said the lawsuit had not been filed by mid-day Wednesday.

Stamey was placed on paid leave on Jan. 23 after falling months behind in depositing money and providing disbursements and financial reports. She failed to attend a commission meeting called that day for her to explain a civil judgment she faced in South Carolina that alleged she cashed an $18,149 check twice. Two days earlier, she claimed the county's books were a mess when she took over.

Two county commissioners apologized Tuesday for their decision to hire Stamey. During the interview process, Stamey seemed like the best candidate, Commissioners Jeff Burrows and Suzy Foss said. They apologized for the problems her appointment caused and said it was important to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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