Thompson Accused of Removing Inspector in Coal Company Case

Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson makes a campaign stop in Greenville, S.C., last month. (AP)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A one-time Tennessee state inspector now claims Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson got him removed from a case.

The inspector had cited a coal company repeatedly for environmental violations.

The company, Carbonex Coal, was represented by Thompson, a private attorney at the time.

The inspector, Francis Baker, retired from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation in 2006 after 28 years.

Today, Baker believes Thompson used his influence with then-Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander, to have him removed in 1980.

In response, a Thompson campaign spokeswoman said Thompson was just doing his job.

Alexander, now a U.S. senator, couldn't recall whether he had heard from Thompson about the company.

Baker was put back on the coal case after the matter was publicized.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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