LISTEN – KGVO Referenced In Valerie Stamey Lawsuit Against Ravalli County Newspaper – Audio Included
In a lawsuit by former Ravalli County Treasurer Valerie Stamey filed against a Ravalli County newspaper, the Bitterroot Star, she referenced an interview on KGVO Radio that occurred in 2014.
In the interview, Stamey attempted to explain the situation and how it developed into a controversy involving the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices. Following is the text of that interview on KGVO's Talk Back program:
JON KING: “I’m sure you know about Jonathan Motl and the Office of Political Practices ruling against you and your husband.”
JON KING: “Can you explain the story? You were the treasurer there according to the ruling that I read, and he found that during that time when your husband was running for office, that you got an ad in the Bitterroot Star, and never paid for it. So, is it true?”
STAMEY: “Here’s the actual story, and this is one of the worst injustices that my lawyer and I have seen demonstrated in this entire piece. We did run an ad in the Bitterroot Star, but the ad quality was so terrible that you could not see the picture of my husband. I contacted the Bitterroot Star and said, look, you know, don’t know how it happened but it happened, so what can we do? They said, well, we’ll run it again. I said, sorry, primary’s over, we no longer have a need. So, the lady that I spoke with indicated to me, she said, we’ll just give you a credit. I said, would you do a credit invoice or how would you normally do that, and how do I report that on my campaign form? She indicated to me that I would simply put it as an in-kind. On the actual form, I even wrote on there that it was a credit for an advertisement.
The very interesting part is that Michael Howell, whose paper I made this advertisement in, is the person who went back and reported this to political practices almost four years later.
I was contacted on February the third by the office of political practices. We indicated that we were certainly more than willing to work through this, and if indeed they did not remember that that had happened, that we would be glad to pay for the ad.
I found out 48 hours later that the political practices commissioner, via the Ravalli Republic, had issued his conclusion that my husband and I are unfit for public trust.”
JON KING: “If I remember correctly, the commissioner of political practices said it wasn’t an accident, that you intentionally misled. So, do you think that the commissioner of political practices is off, that he’s just trying to attack you, or do you feel that it was Mr. Howell that started this?”
STAMEY: “Both. I feel that I was completely denied due process in this 48 hours. I have an email that I sent to the young lady that I spoke with in the office after our phone call, indicating to her that we were more than cooperative, and if we needed to make that payment, would we pay it to her, would we pay it to Mr. Howell, would he send an invoice, what was the nature of that? So, I believe that in working with the political practices office, Michael Howell has created his own story and basically framed this up from his own paper and we will be dealing with this legally.”
In a related story, Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fulbright is very interested in this lawsuit, because his office has been attempting to serve Ms. Stamey with a lawsuit over the cost of an independent audit and an investigation by a former Montana District Judge Nels Swandal, to remedy the problems that Stamey left behind as Ravalli County Treasurer.
"There have been efforts to locate her ongoing for quite some time now," Fulbright said. "We did learn of this lawsuit filed in federal court yesterday, so this could provide more information, but since it is signed by Mr. and Mrs. Stamey’s attorney, so it doesn’t disclose much more than a state of residence,” Fulbright said. “This is a lawsuit to recover costs and expenses that Ravalli County incurred and some penalties related to Ms. Stamey’s alleged non-performance of her duties.”