Brownback confirms he fired ex-commerce secretary

File - Antonio Soave.

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s office has confirmed that he fired the state Department of Commerce’s top administrator in June partly over questions about agency contracts.

The statement from the Republican governor’s office Friday came after weeks of denials that former Commerce Secretary Antonio Soave had been terminated.

The Kansas City Star reports that the confirmation came less than a day after it published a detailed story on contracts with Soave associates.

The Star identified at least nine Soave friends or business partners who landed consulting or marketing contracts during Soave’s 18 months as secretary.

Brownback said Soave’s tenure presented problems resulting in his termination that included “inappropriate” contracts.

Soave said he resigned by mutual agreement with the governor and the department’s followed all existing policies in making the contracts.

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