A member of Gov. Paul Le-Page’s Cabinet who was forced out after offending Aroostook County residents, African-Americans and Native Americans, all in one day, said Friday that some of the comments attributed to him were misconstrued. Other comments, he claims, he didn’t even say.

Two days after resigning as commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, Phil Congdon said that the allegations against him are false and that much has been made over nothing.

Congdon blamed politics and a state representative who wrote a letter to LePage about Congdon’s talks on April 1 in Caribou and Presque Isle.

“It’s about to get messy and dirty really fast,” Congdon said in a phone interview. “You just wait and watch.”

Congdon’s comments continued to draw criticism Friday from the NAACP and a Maine Indian tribe.

LePage, who has been criticized for his own choice of words, issued a statement saying: “I do not condone or tolerate the appearance of this type of behavior and I will not accept distractions from my jobs-creation agenda.”

Congdon was quoted as saying that affirmative action programs have contributed to a decline in higher education, that people of northern Maine lack parenting skills, and that it is time for them to “get off the reservation” if they want to succeed.

He also said Maine’s potato farmers are wasting their crop by selling it for french fries rather than vodka.

He told the Sun Journal of Lewiston that when he spoke about affirmative action during a private meeting at Northern Maine Community College, “I thought I was talking to people who were sufficiently intelligent enough to understand my real meaning. I was mistaken.”

That remark didn’t surprise Caribou City Manager Steven Buck, who was at the Caribou Chamber of Commerce awards banquet April 1 as the audience “sat there in silence” while Congdon gave the keynote speech.

“I’m listening to that statement about people being ‘sufficiently intelligent enough’ and it goes back to the same demeanor as when he was here,” Buck said. “I’ve talked with my colleagues around the state, and what we experienced here was not unique.”

LePage became aware of Congdon’s remarks Monday and “took immediate action on the matter,” said the governor’s spokeswoman, Adrienne Bennett.

She declined to say whether Congdon was fired or was asked to resign, but Congdon said he was forced out of the job.

Congdon, 69, retired to Maine eight years ago and met Le-Page last year on the campaign trail. He had extensive business management experience during his career, which included stretches at Texas Instruments and Raytheon. He became the head of the economic development department in January.

He was invited to speak at the chamber banquet in Caribou to give his perspective about economic development in Maine and how it relates to Aroostook County, the state’s northernmost county and a region where industry and job opportunities have been declining for decades.

But rather than speak about opportunities, attendees said, Congdon told the gathering of 60 people that economic development isn’t going to come to northern Maine and that people have to “get off the reservation” if they want to succeed.

On Friday, Congdon denied saying any such thing.

His comments about affirmative action programs came during a meeting earlier in the day at Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle, where he met with the college president and other officials.

Congdon said those statements were misunderstood.

He blamed Rep. John Martin, D-Eagle Lake, for writing a letter to LePage without coming to him first. Martin’s letter contained inaccuracies and fabrications, Congdon said.

Martin said he wrote the letter only after people approached him in Aroostook County saying they were upset and shocked by Congdon’s comments. Martin said he merely asked for LePage’s office to investigate the matter, not to fire Congdon.

In a joint statement Friday, the Maine branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Penobscot Indian Nation called Congdon’s statements “reprehensible and inherently untrue.”

Penobscot Nation Chief Kirk Francis said in a phone interview that Congdon’s statements were “racially charged” and his comment about “getting off the reservation” typecasts Native Americans as “sitting around in their communities living in conditions that they’re choosing to, waiting for somebody to save them, and it’s not that way at all.”