53 / 40
      58 / 36
      52 / 34

      Former state senator resigns from UCA amid speculation of political involvement

      LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -- From raising money forpolitical action committees, to an affiliation with troubled Faulkner CountyJudge Mike Maggio, some believe those factors may have been pre cursors to GilbertBaker's resignation Wednesday from The University of Central Arkansas.

      In a simple but straightforward email UCA announced that "Effectivetoday, Gilbert Baker has resigned from his administrative position at theUniversity of Central Arkansas."

      A college spokespersontold Channel 7 Baker's resignation was done verbally and no written reason wasgiven.

      "There weren't manyphone records that would suggest that he was actually at UCA very often," saidBlue Hog Report blogger Matt Campbell. "He had a standing sort of travel budgetin thousands (of dollars) per month going to Dallas, New York, D.C."

      Campbell has covered andsubmitted Freedom of Information Act requests for Baker's political ties sincehe started at UCA in 2012.

      "Sort of money wisethis keeps coming out, and every time you look up there's another story in thepaper or online about here's this money being spent improperly, or donatedimproperly, and here's a tie to Gilbert Baker," he added.

      Campbell believes some ofthat publicity came to a head after docket-stripped Judge Mike Maggio, admittedto making inappropriate comments on a message board about court cases.

      Maggio was laterdismissed from his docket by the state commission.

      "It seems likethere's a whole lot of, if he didn't exactly get the money to Maggio, he hadsome role in it. With all the stuff that came out about Maggio it seemed tounfold from there," Campbell continued.

      UCA's administration was on a retreatWednesday, and was unavailable for comment on the resignation.