Aug 18, 2010 9:23 PM by Alison Haynes

Former ATC head investigated on stalking claim

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Investigators searched the office of the
recently resigned commissioner of Alcohol and Tobacco Control,
indicating in a warrant they sought evidence of allegations that
Murphy Painter had stalked and harassed a former assistant.
Painter, who served in the ATC post for 14 years, resigned
Friday, four days after his former assistant Kelli Suire complained
to the Louisiana Office of State Inspector General.
Painter told WAFB-TV on Wednesday that he did nothing wrong and
claimed the allegations were orchestrated to smear him. "The whole
purpose is to try to once and for all ruin my good name and
reputation," Painter said.
A computer and two portable thumb drives were among items seized
from Painter's office, according to a search warrant return filed
Tuesday in state district court. A laptop and thumb drive were
seized from Painter's state-provided 2010 Dodge Charger.
IG investigator Shane Evans said in a search warrant application
Monday that Suire had filed a formal complaint with the Louisiana
Department of Revenue that had led to Painter being reprimanded.
Evans also told state District Judge Bonnie Jackson that a
preliminary review of a state computer system revealed that Painter
had searched for personal information on Suire as recently as Aug.
9 and that he also sought information on Suire's attorney, Jill L.
"I was pretty much shocked," Craft said Tuesday in reference
to Painter. "He had run a criminal history on me and printed out a
Google map to my house."
Suire worked at the ATC headquarters from March 2007 until
November 2009, Evans said in an affidavit for the search warrant.
Evans said: "Suire advised that she felt alarmed and threatened
by Painter's actions, as he intentionally made his uninvited
presence known at her home.
"He has called her as early as 5:00 a.m. to ask her what she
was doing up that early because he had driven by and seen the light
on at her house," Evans told the judge. "She took this as him
clearly indicating that he had been at her residence. Her residence
is not on his route to work."
Evans also told Jackson: "While Ms. Suire was still employed at
the La. ATC, he directly asked her to come sleep at his house. He
has made numerous requests to her to become involved in a romantic
relationship. When she has ignored or refused him, he would become
Craft said Suire "refused to have any relationship outside that
of employer and employee."
"This whole situation has been very frightening to her," the
attorney said, adding Suire remains concerned for her safety.


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