Flannery case not a concern for GOWD

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The Grand Olde West Days committee does not plan to research their finances after news that a former chairperson was investigated for embezzlement in Rio Blanco County.

Shelly Flannery - who served as Grand Olde West Days committee chair before the 18th annual festival in May - is suspected of embezzling more than $7,000 from the Rio Blanco County Historical Society while she was the group's treasurer.

The Historical Society removed her from the position in July.

Flannery also spent about $7,300 of the group's donations while acting as treasurer, but has since paid that amount back, the Steamboat Pilot & Today reported.

According to records from the Ninth Judicial District Court - which oversees legal matters in Rio Blanco County - no official charges had been filed against Flannery as of Tuesday afternoon.

A representative from the Ninth Judicial District Attorney's Office said the matter is "under investigation," but no other information could be given at this time.

Carol Wilson, Grand Olde West Days committee treasurer, said Flannery would not have had the same access to her group's finances that she did with the Rio Blanco Historical Society.

"I'm the treasurer," Wilson said. "I have full possession of all the checkbooks."

There was a time when Wilson left town for a few weeks this year before the festival, she said, but added she checked the books when she returned.

Likewise, Flannery was not asked to leave the group because of any suspicious activity, Wilson said.

"It was a matter of she was supposed to be the head of the committee and the rest of us were led to believe everything would be taken care of, when, in fact, that was not the case," Wilson said. "I think she was too busy with other things, and she kept letting Grand Olde West Days things fall through the cracks."

Wilson added that the Grand Olde West Days committee is actively seeking volunteers for the festival's 19th outing in 2009. Residents interested in hearing more information or volunteering for the event can call Wilson at her business, Neolithics, at 824-4580.

Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or cesmith@craigdailypress.com

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