Charges have not yet been filed in Rio Blanco Co.
MEEKER — No charges have been filed against Shelly Flannery in Rio Blanco County, as of yet anyway. However, in a separate case, charges against her were filed Oct. 15 in Steamboat Springs.
Flannery was charged with felony theft, alleging she stole as much as $72,000 during her time as executive director of Routt County Habitat for Humanity. According to reports, Flannery deposited pre-signed checks into her personal bank account.
In Meeker, she is accused of misappropriating Rio Blanco County Historical Society funds during her time as treasurer of the organization, which operates the White River Museum. Flannery repaid $7,300 in July, said Steve Wix, president of the historical society, adding $7,100 was still missing.
“The case is still being actively investigated,” said Lt. Glenn Wilson of the Meeker Police Department. “A lot of interviews have been conducted, and one or two more crucial interviews will take place in the next couple of weeks. Once those are concluded, we will be at the point of coming to a conclusion. Once all of the facts are known, at least as well as we can ascertain, we’ll be able to make an informed decison on where to go from there.”
Wix had actually recommended Flannery for the Habitat for Humanity job when called for a job reference.
“One of their board members called me (last) winter, before we realized things were amiss,” Wix said. “I told him that she was really a go-getter and would probably do well in acquiring grants and fund-raising for them.”
Previously, Flannery was tourism/economic development coordinator for the town of Meeker from Feb. 7, 2005, to May 31, 2006. Town Administrator Sharon Day said it was the town’s policy not to comment, good or bad, about former employees.
Wix said he first discovered “questionable items” on the organization’s bank statement in January.
“I confronted Shelly about them and she explained that she must have used the wrong checkbook when paying those bills,” Wix said. “She assured me that we would be reimbursed by the entities that should have paid for those items, which she told me were Grand Olde West Days and Moffat County Tourism.”
Flannery resigned as executive director of the Moffat County Tourism Association in January. She had served in the position for a year and a half before leaving for personal reasons, according to the Craig Daily Press.
An investigation into Flannery’s tenure with the Moffat County Tourism Association did not reveal any irregularities, the Daily Press reported.
According to Moffat County court records, Flannery was charged with driving under the influence on Feb. 24 and was sentenced in June.
Initially, Wix said he accepted Flannery’s explanation of the checkbook discrepancies.
“I had discussed the issue with some of the historical society board members and, after I confronted Shelly, we were greatly relieved that it was just a mistake and that she would make it right,” Wix said.
However, problems persisted with the organization’s financial records, Wix said.
“Each month after that, when the bank statement came, I noticed that there were no deposits being made, which concerned me that we were not being reimbursed, and even more, that the deposits from the museum were not being made,” Wix said. “At least once a month, Ardith (Douglass from the museum) was giving Shelly a bank bag with cash and checks to deposit from book sales, donations and membership dues. Also, the bank statements had no checks clearing the bank, which showed me that she was not paying the monthly bills.”
Wix said he confronted Flannery again about concerns with the financial records.
“I asked her why she was not paying the bills and she told me that she was paying them and she didn’t know why the vendors weren’t showing that,” Wix said. “She later said that she had paid a bunch of bills and had the envelopes in a folder to mail and had misplaced that folder. Those bills never got paid until I finally got the checkbook back from her and I paid them. The check register did not show that she had written checks to pay the bills in question.”
Wix said the historical society board decided to relieve Flannery of her treasurer’s duties at its June meeting.
“We didn’t really fire her; we just realized and acknowledged that she wasn’t ever coming back and that we had to take over the treasurer duties,” Wix said. “I guess that we did vote to formally remove her as treasurer at that meeting. She wasn’t there.”
Wix said Flannery had resisted repeated requests to turn over the historical society’s financial records.
“Through much of the late winter and spring of 2008, I told her over and over that she apparently didn’t have the time to stay current with her treasurer duties and to bring me the bookkeeping and I would do it for her,” Wix said. “… She would tell me she would be here the next week and then she wouldn’t show up again. That kept happening until I finally told her in a couple of e-mails that I was thinking of involving the sheriff if she didn’t get the bookkeeping to me. Finally, in June she brought me all of the files and the checkbook.”
Charges have not yet been filed in Rio Blanco Co.