The former deputy director of the Utah Department of Corrections filed a lawsuit Monday accusing state officials of "manufacturing" allegations against him and conspiring to destroy his reputation.

Nicholas Morgan III says in the lawsuit that his former boss and others used the allegations as an excuse to fire him even though a series of investigations revealed no wrongdoing on his part.Named as defendants are the state; O. Lane McCotter, former executive director of the Department of Corrections; James Gillespie, deputy director; Frank Mylar, department attorney; J. Lyle Wilde, investigator; Jack Ford, spokesman; and Charlie Johnson, the governor's former chief of staff.

The wrongful termination case was filed in U.S. District Court by attorney R. Paul Van Dam, a former state attorney general and Salt Lake County attorney.

Morgan was fired in September 1996 after an investigation allegedly revealed violations of purchasing procedures, an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate, breach of departmental standards of conduct and other "unlawful conduct."

In his lawsuit, Morgan said at least three investigations into the charges revealed no evidence of misconduct on his part.

"Incredibly, once it was clear that there was insufficient evidence of wrongdoing on Mr. Morgan's part, the department even investigated the activities of Mr. Morgan's son, who is not now and has never been a department employee," the suit said.

Morgan said the allegations and subsequent investigations were part of a "deliberate conspiracy" by the defendants to remove him from his job and ruin his reputation. The suit said Morgan has applied for a number of jobs since his dismissal but has had "not a single offer."