The long legal saga involving former Ravalli County Treasurer Valerie Stamey isn’t over, as she files a federal lawsuit claiming she was unlawfully fired by county officials.
She’s seeking $20 million in damages.
It was three years ago Stamey was dismissed following a months-long legal and political drama which played out in a series of hotly-contested county commissioner meetings.
Months after being appointed, county commissioners raised questions about Stamey’s qualifications and office procedures, only to have her fire back, accusing board members of malfeasance and wrong doing.
But following a lengthy investigation which found Stamey had failed to deposit more than $1 million in checks and cash, commissioners would suspend her, and then file a civil suit with more than $50,000 in penalties.
It took two years of searching for the county to find out that Stamey had returned to South Carolina so she could be served.
But in the new suit just filed in US District Court, Stamey claims there was a “coordinated effort” to destroy her “livelihood and dignity” using a “complete fabrication”. The complaint names current and former county commissioners, other county elected officials and Bitterroot Star publisher Michael Howell.
Stamey’s attorney Robert Myers singles out Commissioners Greg Chilcott and Jeff Burrows, and former commissioner J.R. Iman for acting with “evil intent and malice” in removing her from office. The suit claims commissioners acted “outside the law” by using a civil process to justify the firing, rather than filing criminal charges.
Stamey is also seeking $8 million from Howell and his wife, and nearly $250,000 for “loss of economic opportunities.”