New allegations against ex-Habitat director

Flannery accused of stealing about $70K from county nonprofit

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Police are investigating claims that Shelly Flannery, former executive director of Routt County Habitat for Humanity, embezzled about $70,000 from the nonprofit organization over a nine-month period.

The accusation comes almost a month after Flannery was accused of stealing $7,000 from one of her previous employers, the Rio Blanco County Historical Society.

Jeffery Weeden, board chairman and president of Routt County Habitat for Humanity, said the organization began examining its finances Sept. 11 after learning of the accusations against Flannery in Rio Blanco County.

"We immediately went to the bank and started our internal review of the situation," Weeden said Monday.

On Sept. 12, Weeden said he spoke with Flannery and that she was subsequently removed from her position.

Flannery did not have signatory power on Habitat for Humanity's accounts, Weeden said, and the organization is investigating how the money was allegedly taken. The Habitat for Humanity board of directors is working with the Steamboat Springs Police Department on its investigation, which is led by Detective Jerry Stabile.

Flannery declined to comment and referred questions to her attorney.

Weeden said the group is insured against loss, and in a letter sent to Habitat for Humanity supporters, he wrote that "any missing funds can be recovered by the affiliate after the investigation takes place." No additional fundraisers are planned to make up for the loss.

Habitat for Humanity is in the process of building a duplex in West End Village, and Weeden said he's hopeful construction won't be affected by the loss of funds.

"It could (slow construction), but we're working to make sure that it doesn't," he said. "As strange as it sounds, that's one of my biggest concerns right now."

The duplex is scheduled to be completed by the end of October.

After Flannery's removal, Tommi Lynn Weeden, Jeffery's wife, was appointed as interim executive director. Tommi Weeden was one of the candidates for the position when Flannery was first hired, Jeffery Weeden said.

"The one thing that we can say about that is that as a result of this matter, Routt County Habitat is strengthening internal controls to prevent anything like this happening in the future," he said.

In September, Flannery was accused of using the Rio Blanco Historical Society's bank account to pay for personal bills totaling more than $7,000 while she served as the group's treasurer. Historical Society President Steve Wix said Flannery also took about $7,300 in small bills and checks, but later returned that money.

Weeden said the money in Routt County was taken from a single bank account.

"Before all of this, the affiliate was in good financial position, and after this, we'll be in the same position, if not better," he said. "Right now, as much as possible, we're trying to make this business as usual."

Flannery was involved in Moffat County organizations, as well, most recently as executive director of the Moffat County Tourism Association from June 2006 to January 2008. MCTA is a board of volunteers that spends Moffat County lodging tax revenue - about $160,000 in 2008 - on promotional marketing and advertising for local tourism.

Flannery resigned from the MCTA in January, citing personal reasons. She was paid about $45,000 a year.

MCTA Board President Tammie Thompson-Booker said in September that she contacted Moffat County Attorney Kathleen Taylor about the Rio Blanco allegations against Flannery.

Also in September, Moffat County budget analyst Tinneal Gerber said the county was preparing an internal investigation of MCTA finances during the time Flannery worked for the county.

No updates on that investigation were immediately available Monday afternoon. The investigation in Rio Blanco County is ongoing.

- To reach Zach Fridell, call 871-4208

or e-mail zfridell@steamboatpilot.com

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