Category Archives: John Rowland

April 15 Tax Day: GOP Focuses On Malloy Tax Increase; Dems Talk About Rowland

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Jerry Labriola, John McKinney, John Rowland, Nancy DiNardo, Tom Foley Date:

On April 15 each year, voters and taxpayers are focused on the federal and state deadlines to get their taxes completed.

The Republican and Democratic parties both released statements Tuesday with a tax theme.

“On this Tax Day, we encourage all Connecticut families to thank Governor Dan Malloy and his record-setting tax increase for the $700 more in taxes they owe this year,” said Republican chairman Jerry Labriola, Jr. “Today, we’re all receiving a painful reminder of exactly what Dan Malloy meant when he pledged to take a ‘different path.’ Instead of holding the line on taxes and reigning in out-of-control government spending, Governor Malloy increased government spending and passed the largest tax increase in state history at a time when Connecticut families could least afford it.”

Labriola continued, “In hopes of convincing voters to give him a second term, Governor Malloy has been ignoring the facts as he tours the state armed with Malloy Math and made up “facts” about Connecticut’s economy. But Connecticut voters know the truth. The reality is that Dan Malloy’s record-setting tax hikes and irresponsible spending increases have driven us further into debt and given Connecticut the worst economy in the nation.”

In response to Labriola’s comments about Malloy, Democratic Party chairwoman Nancy DiNardo focused much of her statement on the past policies of former Gov. John G. Rowland, who left office in 2004. 

“The GOP gubernatorial candidates’ tax plans are like fairy tales: fun to read, but not believable,” DiNardo said. “Nearly all of them are saying some variation of the same thing: they’ll cut taxes by more than $1.5 billion. That reminds me of John Rowland, who ran in 1994 on a promise to eliminate the income tax. We all know how that turned out.”

DiNardo continued, “Seems they’re not quite done with John Rowland yet, since all of them are trying to be just like him. Either their ‘proposed’ cuts won’t happen, or if they do, they will attempt to balance the budget by gutting funding for essential programs like education, or by laying off tens of thousands of state employees. There simply aren’t many places in the state budget where you can cut $1.5 billion.”

Rowland Indicted For Dealings With Two Congressional Campaigns in 2010, 2012

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Brian Foley, John Rowland, Lisa Wilson-Foley, Mark Greenberg Date:

Former Gov. John G. Rowland was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday on seven criminal counts for his dealings with two Republican Congressional campaigns in 2010 and 2012.

Federal prosecutors say that Rowland “devised a scheme to work for the campaign of a candidate seeking election to the U.S. House of Representatives from Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional Districut during the 2009 and 2010 election cycle.”

Litchfield developer Mark Greenberg was not named in the indictment as the 2010 candidate, but he has publicly stated that Rowland offered to work for him during that campaign.

“To make the illegal arrangement appear legitimate, Rowland drafted a sham consulting contract pursuant to which he would purportedly perform work for a separate corporate entity, referred to in the indictment as the “Animal Center,” the federal prosecutor’s office said. “By proposing to run the campaign-related payments to Rowland through the Animal Center, Rowland sought to prevent actual campaign contributions and expenditures from being reported to the FEC and the public.”

The charges against Rowland include two counts of causing false statements to be made to the Federal Elections Commission, which carries a maximum of 5 years on each count; two counts of falsification of records in a federal investigation, which carry a maximum prison term of 20 years on each count. In addition, he was charged with one count of conspiracy and two counts of causing illegal campaign contributions.

While the time in prison is traditionally reduced by federal guidelines, the maximum combined term for the 7 counts in the indictment is 57 years in prison, according to federal prosecutors.

Overall, 6 of the 7 counts relate to the 2012 campaign of Republican Lisa Wilson-Foley of Simsbury, while one count relates to the 2010 campaign of developer Mark Greenberg of Litchfield. Greenberg is currently running this year against Democratic U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty of Cheshire, who won the 2012 race against Republican Andrew Roraback.

Rowland is expected to be arraigned at 2:30 p.m. Friday in New Haven in front of Judge Ellen Bree Burns, who graduated from Yale Law School in 1947, was nominated to the federal bench by Jimmy Carter, and is now 90 years old. Continue reading

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush Coming Back To Connecticut For GOP Fundraiser

by Categorized: Jeb Bush, John Rowland Date:

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a potential presidential candidate in 2016, is returning to Connecticut this week to headline the Republican Party’s top fundraising dinner – in a return engagement from one of the most successful dinners in the party’s history.

Back in 2003, Bush attracted a sell-out crowd of about 950 Republicans in one of the largest crowds in recent history. It was the 25th annual Prescott Bush Awards Dinner, which honors his late grandfather and raised enthusiasm at the time for his brother to be reelected president in 2004.

The dinner is named after Bush’s late grandfather, a former U.S. senator and longtime Greenwich resident — the father of one president and grandfather of another.

“The greatest man I know is my dad,” Jeb Bush said at the dinner in 2003, referring to the 41st president as he stood in front of a huge picture of his grandfather that was hanging from the ballroom ceiling at the Westin Hotel in Stamford. “The greatest man he knew was the guy right behind me. Family does matter. Doesn’t it?”

It was also a different Republican Party back in June 2003 when Gov. John G. Rowland was still popular because he had not yet run into the buzzsaw of problems from a federal investigation and multiple disclosures by The Hartford Courant that hit in late 2003 and the first half of 2004. Rowland invited Bush, his friend, to the dinner – not long after Rowland had helped Bush get re-elected as Florida governor with the help of money raised by Rowland when he was the chairman of the Republican Governors’ Association in 2002.

The next Bush dinner – on June 8, 2004 in Stamford – came on the exact day that new disclosures came out regarding Rowland during the impeachment hearings in Hartford. The attendance fell that year to less than 600 because of Rowland’s high-profile problems that dominated the headlines – a sharp drop from 950 with Bush only a year earlier. At least three former state GOP chairmen did not attend that year for a marquee event that had traditionally been a “must-attend” fundraiser for party stalwarts.

Rowland later pleaded guilty to one criminal count of accepting more than $100,000 in gifts from state contractors and others and not paying taxes on the gifts.

In June 2005, the attendance dropped to about 550 people with future presidential candidate Mitt Romney as the keynoter, and the paid attendance dropped further to about 500 at the Italian Center in Stamford in June 2006. That was the year when the scheduled keynoter George Pataki, the governor of New York State, was unable to attend at the last minute because of massive flooding that prompted a disaster declaration and a state of emergency in 10 counties in upstate New York. Continue reading

Lisa Wilson-Foley and Brian Foley Both Plead Guilty in Rowland Probe

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Brian Foley, FBI, John Rowland, Lisa Wilson-Foley Date:

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

Senate President Don Williams Not Seeking Reelection This Fall

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Donald Williams, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Hartford, John McKinney, John Rowland, Larry Cafero, Lowell Weicker, M. Jodi Rell Date:

Donald Williams, the longest-serving Senate president pro tem in state history, surprised his caucus today by announcing that he is not seeking reelection this fall.

Williams, 56, has served in the highest-ranking position in the state Senate for 10 years – surpassing all others in a position that dates back in the legislature to 1845.

At the center of the biggest issues of the day, Williams negotiated state budgets and crafted laws with the past three governors and the past four House Speakers – covering the biggest issues from the death penalty to gun control to improving education.

“It’s been a very difficult decision because I love the institution of the legislature and the Senate,’’ Williams said Wednesday in an exclusive interview with The Hartford Courant. “For a lot of reasons, I feel that this is the right time to move on to other challenges. There’s a little anxiety in that, on the one hand, but I also find that exciting.’’

After declining several times to say exactly what he will be doing, Williams flatly said “no’’ when asked if he would become a lobbyist like other previous lawmakers.

When asked if he would run for higher office, Williams said, “You should never rule something out for the future. I certainly will not be a candidate this fall’’ for any office.

“I’m not leaving this job to take a specific assignment,’’ Williams said. “I plan on exploring thoroughly what my next step will be.’’ Continue reading

Maddow On Lender In WaPo

by Categorized: John Rowland, Journalism Date:

\"LenderMSNBC personality Rachel Maddow, writing in the Washington Post, cites Jon Lender in a column titled \”Democracy Needs Dogged Local Journalism\” and praises The Record\’s coverage of the Chris Christie scandal. About Lender, she writes:

When Connecticut Gov. John Rowland was still denying the allegations of corruption that would ultimately force him out of office, his wife read a poem (to the meter of “The Night Before Christmas”) mocking Hartford Courant reporter Jon Lender at a local Chamber of Commerce meeting:

“When out on the yard there rose such a hub-bub,

I thought maybe Jon Lender had jumped in the hot tub.

Now surely that man needs to go soak his head,

but there on the lawn stood Santa instead.”

Lender didn’t jump into anything, but he did stay on the story, and the aforementioned hot tub turned out to be one of the illegal gifts that would send the governor to prison.

Ex-Gov. Rowland: Minority Drug Dealers The Problem

by Categorized: General Assembly, John Rowland Date:

\"rowlandIn a blog post today, our former and felonious governor says liberals don\’t like the fact that \”too many people of color are selling drugs with 1,500 feet of schools.\” This year, state legislators are expected to consider a proposal that will ease penalties for minor drug offenses near schools.

Clogging our jails with low-level drug offenders, isn\’t a problem, Rowland reasons:

The Connecticut Sentencing Commission, directed by the puppeteer former State Rep. Michael Lawlor has approved a recommendation to reduce the zones around schools to make it easier to sell drugs and lower the penalties. Their argument is that too many people of color are getting arrested well…… maybe too many people of color are selling drugs within 1,500 feet of schools ? Why change the law just because you don’t like who is actually getting arrested for committing the crime?

Tax Amnesty Already Collected Nearly $63 Million When Expected $35 Million; Still Collecting Until November 15

by Categorized: 2014 Election, John Rowland, Toni Harp Date:

With 11 more days to collect, the state has already far exceeded its goal of $35 million in tax amnesty collections.

The state has collected nearly $63 million so far in order to balance the state budget, according to state tax commissioner Kevin B. Sullivan.

The 60-day amnesty program, approved by the legislature earlier this year as part of the annual budget, started on September 16 and is scheduled to end on November 15. If tax delinquents come forward, they can avoid criminal prosecution and pay 3 percent interest instead of the state\’s normal rate of 12 percent.

Virtually any business or individual with back taxes is eligible, including those already enmeshed in civil lawsuits against the state, those who are currently being audited, and those who have not paid taxes at all.

The state\’s number one tax delinquent is New Haven-based Renaissance Management Company, which is a real estate business that is operated by the family of state Senator Toni Harp of New Haven. The business owes more than $1 million in back taxes and penalties, but Harp told The Courant recently that the company would \”absolutely not\’\’ use the state\’s tax amnesty program to lower its bill.

Sullivan, a longtime West Hartford Democrat who worked for years with Harp in the state Senate, has declined to comment about Harp\’s case. The money is owed by the real estate company and not by Harp personally. Continue reading