Is Supercharged, Tax Spending Candidate For Justice Of The Peace, Bill Burt, The Funniest Candidate Ever?

by Travis Mateer

While I’ve been amused by some local candidates in the past, the brazen candidacy of former Missoula Sheriff Captain, Bill Burt, is perhaps the most hilarious campaign I’ve ever witnessed, and it’s not even June yet!

One of the key factors fueling the hilarity is Bill’s checkered past, like the time he got drunk with his cousin and broke into a hospital in Butte. I wrote about that incident, along with a more recent incident, in this post welcoming traffickers to Montana.

Today’s post is going to examine how Bill Burt got himself SUPERCHARGED at taxpayer expense and, speaking of costs, it cost me a whole THREE DOLLARS to get access to the article I’ll be quoting from because the corporate overlords at the Missoulian have finally closed all my access loopholes. Maybe the Missoulian business department should send Bill a thank you letter.

The story of the SUPERCHARGED Sheriff vehicle that Bill Burt used to take his boat to the lake is a result of the 2018 Sheriff election where TWO candidates tried dislodging the doughboy of corruption, TJ McDermott, from his perch.

Here’s TJ and Bill shaking hands for the camera:

TJ on the left, Bill to the right

And here’s the story about why $7,000 dollars just HAD to be spent to make Bill’s Sheriff vehicle FASTER:

A Missoula County Sheriff captain’s patrol SUV was upgraded with a supercharger because the vehicle wasn’t fast enough to keep up during a pursuit following a 2016 kidnapping, Sheriff T.J. McDermott said Thursday in response to an election opponent questioning the purchase.

Deputy Travis Wafstet, who is running as an Independent, took to his campaign Facebook page Thursday, calling the supercharger an example of “unnecessary spending” and said the captain later used the patrol vehicle to tow his personal boat to the lake.

The sheriff said the captain had permission to use his patrol SUV to go on the lake trip because he was on call at the time, but that he and the captain agreed afterward not to use it for that reason again.

I’m delighted these Bill Burt stories have been arriving in my inbox from a reader with a good memory because the Missoula dumpster fire is too vast a conflagration for one wily citizen journalist to cover alone, and you better believe I’m staying busy, especially after what I disclosed about the Rebekah Barsotti missing person case last Saturday.

Since last Saturday’s disclosure, along with my call for a Department of Justice investigation into the Missoula County Sheriff’s Department, some interesting things have been happening…and NOT HAPPENING, as it were.

Has Rebekah’s mother, Angela Mastrovito, received the 911 call yet? No, she hasn’t, despite paying a lawyer A LOT of money to obtain basic information from her daughter’s case. What other curious things have NOT happened? Ask Mineral County attorney, Ellen Donahue, about that job she thought she had. For a hint on what might be swirling around in Mineral County, here’s something from Facebook:

What else was happening in March? Was there a criminal case against Rebekah’s estranged husband, David Barsotti? Was one of the jurors sitting in judgement of that case a longtime Rep. for House District 14? Was this also the month Mineral County Sheriff, Mike Toth, decided to WITHDRAW his hat from the political ring? And was March also the month that Bill Burt suddenly retired from his law enforcement career?


I know it can be easy to dismiss the writing of one citizen journalist “blogger” who professes a Gonzo-style bias when writing about what I’m actually living, day to day, so it was nice to get confirmation from a more conventional reporter in Mineral County that things are looking fucked.

Of course, since Monte Turner isn’t Gonzo like me, he didn’t use any profanity. Here is exactly what he said in a text message to me last week:

Do you see that clear admission from a reporter who lives in Superior, Montana that this has gone from FISHY TO FRAUDULENT? Pretty significant, if you ask me.

I debated whether or not to publicize my communication with Mr. Turner because I had initially considered the exchanges to be just on background, but that was before I evolved my perspective on how close Monte Turner may or may not be to David Barsotti.

So, some questions I would like EVERYONE reading this to consider: what was happening BEFORE July 20th? Did David Barsotti call Monte Turner about Rebekah’s disappearance BEFORE she even went missing? What could David’s development of HAM radio skills mean? After speaking with private investigator, James Terry, these are the kind of questions I am now asking and, if Mr. Terry’s information is accurate, what does all this signify?

If you don’t think investigating the investigators MUST HAPPEN at this point to restore public trust, what kind of evidence would convince you an objective investigation is critically necessary? Because I would have more confidence in a pedophile running a daycare than I would in local law enforcement’s ability to PROTECT and SERVE the public that pays them.

Getting back to Bill Burt, the “liquid expert”, my direct conversation with this candidate/handler-of-grieving-family-members continues to mystify me. Why did Bill spend SO MUCH TIME describing the difficult water conditions to me on the phone regarding this particular section of the Clark Fork river where Rebekah is assumed to have gone in and drowned? My English Major degree has me thinking Shakespearan thoughts like The lady doth protest too much, methinks…

And I’m not the only one who thinks Bill’s role in this stinks.

The conclusion of this post is an absolutely SCATHING email Bill Burt received recently from Angela Mastrovito. I hope readers can appreciate the guts it took to write and send this communication, but don’t take my word for it, read it and judge it for yourself.

Here it is:

Hi Bill –

 I am sending to you a report from Wings of Hope/Northstar K9 Search and Rescue from 2021.   Brad Smith is confident that on August 20, 2021, they located Rebekah.   According to Brad Smith,  you insisted on an attempt using Local SAR divers without the suggestions or assistance from Wings Of Hope.   Brad Smith and Diane Stefanick left the same day of discovery due to the difference of opinion.

You will see from this report that the dogs continued to alert the next day.   On the 23rd of August the remaining representative from Northstar was informed by yourself and TJ McDermott that Rebekah’s case was being returned to Mineral County.   A County without resources.    Basically, it comes down to Missoula decided to abort the recovery  mission.   Turned it back to Sheriff Toth and he informed the team their services were no longer needed.

My question is this –   Why request services from WOH and not accept their assistance in recovery?   Why abort this mission after a single attempt, knowing there was an image?   You have told me multiple times, imaging does not lie.   Is that not true in this case?  Were your attempts to console me because you and TJ McDermott decided to leave Rebekah in the river?   Is that why you are so driven to find Rebekah now?

And what about the August 23, 2021 date returning the case to Mineral County?   We were not informed until September 29, 2021.   The local media was informed September 29, 2021.   That was all a lie.   No wonder, nothing was being “investigated” the month of September.   Missoula wasn’t handling the case after August 23, 2021.   

You had been very concerned about me as a grieving mother, specifically reaching out and maintaining a relationship of sorts after the team left through the end of the year and even into January.   This stopped when you heard that I had hired this team to come out, the efforts to maintain the relationship stopped.   Were your previous attempts driven by guilt instead?

Had we not hired Wings of Hope/Northstar K9 to return in March of 2022, this information would have been buried.   Because we paid for their services the initial report that was never shared with us became accessible.  

Even if Rebekah is in the water, we do not know HOW she got there.   You can say accident all you want to.   I don’t believe it.   Nothing adds up in this case.    Mineral County continues to refuse to release the 911 call.  Our safety has been threatened, being informed the trailer we were staying in was “highly combustible”, our home in VA threatened to be torched, and an extortion attempt in March 2022.   All that for a river accident?   And by someone who knows David Barsotti.   Too many things don’t add up.  The longer Rebekah remains in the water the less chance of recovering her or any evidence.   Her body would have told the story at 4 weeks. 

There is also a file with information that was gathered from a person in the community who captured imaging on August 10, 2021.   This information was submitted to Missoula County Sheriff Office   – Sgt. Ryan Prather.   I did not know about this until Frankie Hallett knew I hired Wings of Hope to come back out in March of 2022.   Frankie Hallett reached out and asked if I had been informed of his information.   I had not. 

We have reached out to DCI, FBI and most recently US Marshall of MT.   

I have attempted to reach out to Missoula County Sheriff Office, Sheriff TJ McDermott and Sgt. Ryan Prather.   No response.   

We are beyond devastated at the lies and the cover up.   By you, by both County Sheriff Departments.

We will keep seeking and searching for Rebekah.   We will keep searching to find out what happened.   We  have lost all faith in you and law enforcement. 

Angela and Gerry Mastrovito

on behalf of Rebekah

and her entire family 


About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Is Supercharged, Tax Spending Candidate For Justice Of The Peace, Bill Burt, The Funniest Candidate Ever?

  1. Cover up county ??? What will it take to get Justice from such a corrupt Sheriffs Dept. This is now at least four cases that I have read of that stink worse than an untreated cesspool! If the three letter agencies ever saddle up for Missoula PLEASE make sure they add SEAN and JLP to their search for justice !

  2. Liz Dozier says:

    My heart breaks for Angela and her family. Montana failed Rebekah miserably. For the first time in my life I’m ashamed of the place I call home.

  3. Pingback: Oblivious Candidate Michael Burks And The Monumental Failure Of Public Protectors And Non-Profit Helpers | Zoom Chron Blog

  4. Pingback: The Caretakers, The Reporter, And The Man Who Wants To Be Sheriff Of Mineral County | Zoom Chron Blog

Leave a Reply