Murphy Painter tells his side of the story - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Murphy Painter tells his side of the story

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Former Alcohol and Tobacco Control Commissioner Murphy Painter says he has done nothing criminally wrong.

In an exclusive interview with WAFB's David Spunt, Painter says the allegations against him were "orchestrated" to smear his name.  "The whole purpose is to try to once and for all ruin my good name and reputation," Painter said.

Painter resigned last week amid allegations that he stalked and harassed a former employee and performed inappropriate background checks on various individuals.

Last Friday, Painter says he sat outside Governor Jindal's capital office, waiting for a meeting.  He says he was frisked by two police officers, then taken inside where he was told he could either quit or be fired by a Jindal staff member.

One of the accusations Painter faces is misusing the state database, "Voyager."

"There's a difference between doing a criminal history check, doing a background check and checking someone's driver's license.  We have access to driver's licenses. I looked up driver's license information just like any other law enforcement officer," he said.

Search warrant documents made public Tuesday allege Painter looked up fellow employees and members of Governor Bobby Jindal's staff, including Paul Rainwater, Commissioner of the Division of Administration and Mimi Hedgecock, a policy advisor to Jindal. Painter says he ran the database before a meeting with the two.

"I had no idea who they were or who I was going to meet and I looked up their picture on a computer to see who I was going to meet, how old they were so I would know what to talk about or what information I was going to present to them," he said.

According to search warrant documents, Painter is also accused of stalking a former female assistant in his office. He says an internal investigation with the Department of Revenue, which oversees ATC, was completed. He alleges the department cleared him of any wrongdoing last fall.  The department could not be reached to confirm the claim.

"They released a report that said they found no wrongdoing in what I did. They said the personnel in my office didn't particularly care about my management model which means I require people to work," he said.

State records show more than 50 people applied for a position as administrative program director in Painter's office.  The job was given to Pam Salario, a former girlfriend of Painter.

"Pam Salario was a 16 year employee with ATC. I'm single, she's single. The minute that anything crossed over where her and I were going to start dating, I forced her to leave and get another job so there wouldn't be an inference of a conflict of interest," he said.

Painter says Salario was fired Wednesday morning, and was upset by it.

"That is a crime. I'm sitting here telling you that is a crime. Whoever is responsible for that is a criminal," he said of the firing.

Painter says he will continue to fight the allegations and will not leave the area.

"I appreciate the support of my friends and family standing by me and that I'm not going to surrender. I don't care, beat me up, try to screw me all you want I'm not going to surrender," he said.

Painter says he is fully cooperating with the investigation.

9 News tried again on Wednesday to speak with the ATC, but was told they would not be making a comment.

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