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Fired New Mexico archaeological official sues governor, others

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The former director of the New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies is suing state officials, saying his race and gender played a role in his firing.

Eric Blinman filed a lawsuit in federal court late Thursday against Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, state Cultural Affairs Secretary Debra Garcia y Griego, and several others, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

In the suit, Blinman alleges Garcia y Griego wrongfully terminated him because he was an older white man who complained about a lack of resources to do his job.

He also claims his firing was retaliation because he told a human resources director, who is a defendant, in confidence about his suspicions of improper conduct by Garcia y Griego.

He is asking for an unspecified sum for wrongful termination and intentional infliction of emotional distress, as well as punitive damages.

Daniel Zillmann, a Department of Cultural Affairs spokesperson, called the allegations "untrue and unfounded." There was "sound and carefully considered reasoning behind the termination of Dr. Blinman."

A representative for the office of Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, did not respond to a message seeking comment Thursday night.