In a letter released late Friday afternoon, Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fulbright said he has engaged an outside accounting firm to conduct a thorough, independent audit of the county treasurer's office.

In the letter, Fullbright states that the firm of Anderson ZurMuehlen & Co, PC, is the largest CPA firm in the state, and will employ "a governmental specialty team with CPA auditing and Certified Fraud Examiner personnel from it's Butte, Helena, and Bozeman locations. James Woy, CPA, Business Director of Attest for Anderson ZurMuehlen, will over see the independent examination."

The letter goes on to state that Fulbright assures the public that Ravalli County has conducted annual audits of all departments, offices and accounts in compliance with Montana law. He said the audits are available for review on the county's website.

Fulbright also "urged  all to refrain from perpetuating the claims being tossed around without first checking facts, and to await the findings of an independent audit."

Fulbright included in the letter the fact that, "in coordination with Ravalli County Sheriff Chris Hoffman, I have requested the assistance of the Montana State Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), to investigate the various allegations of criminal misconduct being made."

He said the DCI would coordinate their investigation with the independent audit team. He expressed his appreciation to Attorney General Tim Fox and the DCI agents, but could not make any further comment on the independent investigation.

Fulbright said on Saturday, February 1, that he hopes the investigations will bring clarity to the controversies swirling around the county treasurer's office, and to the various accusations leveled against county officials and commissioners.

"As far as the audit, we'll get that information out to the public," Fulbright said. "At that point, it's going to depend on what the information is. If it's all positive, that's great, but if it's negative toward any particular individuals, they may or may not be very happy about it, but we'll just have to cross that bridge when we get there and see what kind of information we actually obtain."

Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fulbright