HARTFORD – Former Congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley and her husband, Brian, both pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to conspiring to make illegal federal campaign contributions in a high-profile case involving former Gov. John G. Rowland.
Foley\’s campaign had long denied that Rowland had received any improper payments and in fact had been a volunteer during the 2012 campaign cycle. The overall story – of Rowland being paid by Foley\’s husband\’s company to secretly do work on behalf of her political campaign – has been denied for years.
On Monday, that changed.
\”In September of 2011, Wilson-Foley, Foley and a co-conspirator, who is a former elected official in the state of Connecticut, entered into an unlawful conspiracy to make and cause to be made illegal contributions to Wilson-Foley\’s campaign,\’\’ according to the federal prosecutor\’s office. \”As part of the scheme, the co-conspirator proposed to Wilson-Foley and Foley that he, the co-conspirator, be hired to work on the campaign. The co-conspirator advised that he could replace the private political consultant that the campaign had retained.\’\’
\”As part of the scheme, the co-conspirator, Foley and others created and executed a fictitious contract outlining an agreement purportedly for consulting services between the co-conspirator and the law offices of an attorney who worked for Foley\’s nursing home company,\’\’ the prosecutor\’s office said. \”Foley made regular payments to the co-conspirator for his work on behalf of Wilson-Foley\’s campaign and routed those payments from his real estate company through the law offices of the attorney and on to the co-conspirator.\’\’
In addition, \”The co-conspirator provided nominal services to Foley\’s nursing home company in order to create a \’cover\’ that he was being paid for those nominal services when, in fact, he was being paid in exchange for his work on behalf of Wilson-Foley\’s campaign.\’\’
The Foleys will be sentenced in June by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Warren W. Eginton, who graduated from Yale Law School in 1951 and is now 90 years old. They pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges and face a maximum of one year in prison, but the maximum is rarely reached for cooperating witnesses who plead guilty.
After a lengthy investigation that lasted for years and included a grand jury investigation, the prosecution team headed to the nearby Arch Street Tavern in Hartford on Monday for a celebratory drink.
Former FBI supervisor Mike Clark, a Republican who was running against Wilson-Foley in 2012, filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission regarding payments to Rowland by Apple Rehab, a chain of 26 nursing and rehabilitation centers in Connecticut and Rhode Island. Brian Foley, who has known Rowland for years, serves as the company\’s president and chief executive officer.
Clark had played a major role in helping to send Rowland to prison for 10 months on one federal conspiracy charge of accepting more than $100,000 in gifts from state contractors and others and failing to pay taxes on those gifts. Rowland resigned from office and pleaded guilty in 2004.
Rowland was clearly concerned about Clark and the possible public disclosure of his secret financial arrangement with the Foleys, as mentioned in a federal document.
Rowland sent an email to Wilson-Foley in late November 2011 that said, \”I am just a volunteer helping you and \’many other Republican candidates\’ in case anyone asks. I want to stay under the radar as much as possible and get the job done … after Clark gets out of the race it can be different, want to avoid a bad article.\’\’ Continue reading