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MEEKER — Shelly Flannery, former treasurer for the Rio Blanco County Historical Society, pleaded guilty last Friday to one count of theft of $1,000 to $20,000, a Class 4 felony, with recommendation for probation, said Anthony Mazzola, investigator for the 9th Judicial District.
Flannery used historical society funds for personal use, during her time as the volunteer treasurer of the organization. She will be sentenced May 15.
Rio Blanco County Historical Society President Steve Wix said it’s time to put the incident in the past and move forward, for all parties involved.
“Hopefully, this is finally over and she can rebuild her life,” Wix said. “I’m sure she is sorry and wants to change her ways, but I still wouldn’t trust her with my checkbook. Shelly’s actions wounded the historical society, but we are moving forward with our projects and duties.”
In July, Flannery repaid the historical society $7,300, which had been missing from the books, but an additional $7,000 was still outstanding, according to the organization’s records.
“The assistant DA from Glenwood called me last Thursday and told me that they were going to offer four years’ probation and restitution of $1,300, or so, which the investigator felt was clearly provable,” Wix said. “We came up with a larger number, somewhere around $7,000, which includes expenses she paid with the museum’s checkbook, including several checks … for her personal expenses, and a payment of $3,000 to a caterer for a big dinner in Craig that had nothing to do with the historical society.
“None of those payments was approved by our board, and we didn’t find out about them until I was finally able to retrieve the checkbook, bank and invoice files from Shelly last spring, after months of me trying to get the bookkeeping back from her,” Wix said. “She knew that she would be in big trouble when I got the bookkeeping back, so she stalled and made excuses as long as she could, until I threatened to get the law involved.”
Flannery accepted a plea agreement in January in Routt County, where she pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of theft greater than $20,000. She originally had been charged with stealing more than $70,000 from the Habitat for Humanity during her time as executive director of the organization.
“From this ordeal, we have learned to be less trusting of people, even friends, with our money,” Wix said. “I hope other organizations and boards have also learned from what happened to us.”