A judge today dismissed most of a lawsuit filed by the owner of a nursing home who said Gov. Paul Patton (D) started a regulatory crackdown after she ended their two-year affair.
Circuit Court Judge Roger Crittenden dismissed state government as a defendant and threw out the allegations that Patton sexually harassed Tina Conner and wasted state resources during their affair.
Left intact are Conner's claims that Patton caused her emotional distress and acted outrageously.
Patton has acknowledged the affair but denied doing anything to assist or damage Conner's business.
"I'm confident that the outcome will be I have in no way abused the office of governor," Patton said after today's ruling.
Conner said she was not upset by the ruling, nor does she consider it a loss. Her attorney had explained a state employee statute used in the suit and the taxpayer waste portion could be thrown out.
"So basically everything else was left in the lawsuit and we'll have [our] day in court, and that's exactly what I wanted and what I needed, so I do not consider this a loss at all," she told WAVE-TV.
Conner is the owner of the Birchtree Healthcare nursing home in Clinton, which is in debt and being closed. The 116-bed facility had just 13 patients earlier this month, according to an employee.
She revealed in September that she had carried on a sexual relationship with Patton from 1997 to 1999. During that time, she said, Patton rewarded her businesses with special treatment.
After they ended their relationship, Conner said Patton sought retribution, turning state regulators loose on the nursing home.