The state is tired of waiting for a former state official to pay the $4,314 he has owed for more than two years for bills he ran up on a state credit card.

The state Attorney General’s office is going to take Jimmy Cook, who got his state job with the help of Gov. John Baldacci, to small claims court.

William Laubenstein, chief of the AG’s government division, said, “Obviously, we’d like to recover the outstanding debt in full,” but if the state wins the case and Cook still does not pay the debt, he said the state could go after Cook’s assets.

The case was referred to the AG’s office by state controller Terry Brann after letters written to Cook did not result in Cook paying the debt.

“My recollection, is that this is the first time we have contacted the AG regarding an outstanding travel card liability,” said Brann.

Cook, a Bangor native, left the state Department of Economic and Community Development, where he worked part of the time on the tourism division, in the fall of 2008.

He had spent $4,900 on authorized state travel to New York City, Long Beach, Calif., and Washington, D.C. The state reimbursed Cook for that amount and Cook was supposed to use that money to pay off the charges on his state-issued credit card, which he failed to do.

He also left owing $802 on a cash travel advance the state had given him.

The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting reported the problem in April and a few days later Cook paid $802 toward the debt. There have been no further payments since then, according to Brann.

Cook was also the subject of a March story by the Center that documented how he landed two well-paying jobs under then-DECD Commissioner John Richardson, despite not meeting formal qualifications for the job.

Richardson said Cook was recommended for a job by the governor’s office, which confirmed to the Center that Baldacci supported the hiring.

Cook also worked for Baldacci’s first inauguration committee and later got his first state job in the governor’s office coordinating the redevelopment of Brunswick Naval Air Station.

Cook’s primary work experience until then was as a UPS Inc. truck driver and political organizer for the Teamster’s Union.

David Farmer, spokesman for Baldacci, said, “It’s our understanding that the matter has been referred to the Office of the Attorney General for a small claims action and that it is being handled in a way similar to other collection matters.”

Cook did not respond to an e-mail request by the Center for comment; his phone number is unlisted.

The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting is a nonpartisan, nonprofit journal organization based in Hallowell. Visit or e-mail