The longtime warden of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, the state's largest prison and keeper of death row, is resigning amid questions raised by a newspaper about his private real estate dealings.

On Wednesday, Warden Burl Cain told WAFB-TV in Baton Rouge he was stepping down on Jan. 1.

In the interview, he says the decision to step down is "devastating."

He also reportedly brushed off charges of possible wrongdoing in real estate dealings outlined against him by The Advocate newspaper in Baton Rouge in November.

Cain — a Republican and considered one of the state's most powerful figures — has run the prison, commonly known as Angola, since 1995.

During his tenure, he is credited with improving conditions and decreasing violence at the working prison farm.