- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 2, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Former state Sen. Gilbert Baker has quit his job at the University of Central Arkansas, the college said in a statement Wednesday.

Baker, who earned $132,000 annually as the president’s executive assistant, resigned from his post that he started in last year. A reason for his departure was not given in the university’s one-line statement.

Baker’s exit came the same day the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper in Little Rock reported (http://bit.ly/1fNdh4k) that Baker’s former political consultant, Don Thomas, had denied being involved with political action committees that donated money to a circuit judge who is under investigation. Two of the PACs list Thomas as an officer.

“I have no idea … what you’re talking about,” Thomas said when the newspaper asked about the committees. “I really don’t know anything about it.”

The Arkansas Ethics Commission and the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission are investigating contributions made to Circuit Judge Mike Maggio before the judge reduced a multimillion-dollar judgment against a nursing home.

Michael Morton, the nursing home’s owner, said last week that a woman who worked with Baker asked him to support Maggio’s campaign.

Maggio was running for a seat on the Arkansas Court of Appeals, but has since quit. Baker said he hired the woman to work for a political consulting company he started but denied knowing of the conversation about the contributions.

“I did not tell her to do that or instruct her to do that,” Baker told the newspaper.

UCA spokeswoman Fredricka Sharkey referred questions to campus President Tom Courtway, then said he was traveling and unavailable.

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Information from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. (http://bit.ly/1fNdh4k)

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