A lawsuit accusing former state Alcohol and Tobacco Control Commissioner Murphy Painter of sexually harassing and stalking his ex-administrative assistant has been settled for an undisclosed amount of money, the woman’s attorney said Tuesday.
Lawyers representing Kelli Suire and the Louisiana Department of Revenue, which oversees ATC, filed a joint motion Tuesday, asking state District Judge Mike Caldwell to dismiss Suire’s claims against LDR, ATC and Painter.
“This matter has been fully compromised and settled …” states the motion filed by Winston Decuir Jr., who represents LDR and ATC, and Jill Craft, who represents Suire.
Joint motions also were filed to dismiss several other suits against Painter, LDR and ATC.
“I can definitely confirm that they involve the payment of money’’ from the state to Suire and the other plaintiffs, said Craft, who represents the plaintiffs in all the suits.
Painter said Tuesday the dismissal of the suit against him shows that he “didn’t do anything wrong.”
“I have offered my full cooperation to investigators in an attempt to have my day in court,” Painter said.
“The Department has decided for cost-benefit reasons to settle its suit. I’m told any allegations against me both personally and as commissioner have been dismissed.”
Decuir noted that ATC is under new leadership, and that the state felt it was in its and the taxpayers’ best interests to “put the matter behind us and move forward.’’
Suire worked at ATC headquarters from March 2007 until resigning in November 2009. Painter was ATC chief for 14 years before he resigned in August, several days after Suire complained to the state Office of Inspector General about him.
Craft said Suire has moved out of state.
Painter has maintained he never made unwelcome sexual advances toward Suire or engaged in verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
Suire’s suit against Painter accused him of, among other things, using the National Crime Information Center database to search for personal information on her and Craft.
An inspector general’s report released in February alleged Painter used his ATC post to illegally obtain information on judges, the governor’s staff, U.S. Sen. David Vitter’s wife and others more than 1,000 times is five years.
Law enforcement officials are forbidden by law from using criminal and other restricted databases for anything but official business.
The report states that Painter may have violated laws against computer tampering, fraud and improperly obtaining personal information.
Painter has denied doing anything illegal with the database.
U.S. Attorney Donald Cazayoux Jr. said in February he could not confirm or deny any investigation into Painter’s use of the NCIC database.
Also in February, Caldwell found Painter in contempt of court for violating a restraining order that required him to stay away from Suire.
Caldwell, who found Painter in contempt for attending a wake in January for the sister of Suire’s stepfather, gave Painter a suspended $500 fine and put him on unsupervised probation for three months.