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SeaWorld files complaint against OHSA investigator

Published: Friday, Feb. 28, 2014 11:47 a.m. CST

MIAMI — SeaWorld has filed a complaint that alleges a government investigator who probed a SeaWorld trainer's death engaged in unethical conduct by fraternizing with makers of a documentary critical of the park.

The six-page complaint, sent to the Labor Department on Thursday, says that SeaWorld believes Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigator Lara Padgett "violated the Standards of Ethical Conduct for government employees."

Padgett investigated the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010. Brancheau was pulled into a pool by 12,000-pound killer whale named Tilikum and drowned.

The complaint also includes what it says are examples of Padgett's violations of federal statute, such as posting critical comments about SeaWorld on social media and pictures of her attending film festivals with makers of the 2013"Blackfish" documentary.

Messages left with the government seeking comment from Padgett weren't immediately returned Friday.

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