Malloy Reimbursement To People Magazine Is Almost 16 Years To The Day of John Rowland\’s Meadows Music Ticket Fine In Hartford

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Hartford, John McKinney, John Rowland Date:

\"photo\"Gov. Dannel P. Malloy\’s decision to reimburse People Magazine for a trip to Washington, D.C. comes almost 16 years to the day that then-Gov. John Rowland was fined for attending six rock concerts in Hartford.

Malloy will reimburse the magazine for more than $1,200 in expenses for a 22-hour trip that included attendance at the White House Correspondents Association dinner.

Almost 16 years ago – in a personal check from Fleet bank that was dated April 29, 1997 – Rowland paid a fine of $2,000 following a widespread controversy about concerts that he attended at the Meadows Music Theatre off Interstate 91 in Hartford. Rowland\’s fine included payments for six staff members who were also fined in the case by state ethics officials.

Rowland was among various public officials who were fined in the heavily covered case, including Lewis B. Rome, a former gubernatorial candidate and former chairman of the University of Connecticut board of trustees.  Rome had received 19 complimentary tickets over a two-year period, but he said that he had done nothing wrong because he had served as an attorney for the music theatre as a private attorney. But since he was both the head of the UConn trustees and vice chairman of the Connecticut Convention Authority, Rome was deemed as a public official at that time.

As part of the case, the Meadows and its lobbyist paid fines of $250,000 for failing to report $100,000 in gifts and perks to state employees and their families – marking the largest fine in the history of the Connecticut ethics commission.

A staffer for the Senate Democrats was also fined $250 and paid $500 to charity after accepting tickets to the popular concert venue.

Rowland was investigated for attending outdoor concerts in both 1995 and 1996, including James Taylor on July 16, 1995; Carly Simon on July 23, 1995; Reba McEntire on August 31, 1995; the Eagles on June 22, 1996; Celine Dion on July 24, 1996, and Jimmy Buffett on August 24, 1996. The theatre\’s grand opening concert, featuring Michael Bolton on July 14, 1995, was not part of the ethics case.

After the controversy, Rowland\’s legal counsel, Mary Ann Hanley, sent a memo to staff members that said, \”We must be more careful about accepting gifts of any kind. As for concert and event tickets, I am advising that you should not accept free tickets or purchase tickets through any lobbyist.\’\’

On Thursday, after Malloy paid the reimbursement, Senate Republican leader John McKinney of Fairfield said, “As I said yesterday, the governor was in violation of our ethics laws and needed to make amends. He has begun that process by reimbursing People Magazine for the gift he accepted, but he and his staff continue to set a bad example for elected officials and state government by defending his actions.  His dismissive attitude toward state ethics laws sets a dangerous precedent. I look forward to hearing the opinion of the Office of State Ethics on this matter.”

State Republican chairman Jerry Labriola said, \”I\’m pleased that Governor Malloy suddenly \’found religion\’ after getting caught sinning on his free trip to this high-profile celebrity party. But it\’s not just the monetary cost of the Governor\’s frequent travels or who pays for them. His hobnobbing around the globe also means he is not here in the state he was elected to govern. Governor Malloy\’s appetite for out of state travel makes Arthur Fromer look like a recluse. How about less bubbly and more budget?\”

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4 thoughts on “Malloy Reimbursement To People Magazine Is Almost 16 Years To The Day of John Rowland\’s Meadows Music Ticket Fine In Hartford

  1. Dan Buckley

    So the Courant is STILL bashing John Rowland when their boy Malloy gets caught…Hmmm Rowland’s radio show must be doing well!!!

  2. The Conn-servative

    This ” ethics ” commission is a farse. Now lookey here: Say your a CT politician and you engage in what Danny boy just did, knowing full well ahead of time that your not suppose to do it,but decide to do it anyway in hopes you wont get caught. You get caught and simply write a check to make it go away. Nothing gained and nothing lost. Now similarly, if you hand a teller a note asking for money and receive said money,leave and go home. Then a few days go by and you find out the police are close to making an arrest and decide to bring the money back to the bank, should you not be arrested? I think the capitol police or state police should handle every one of these fraudulently cases of theft because that’s what it is. If there ever was a time for police unions contending that certain sectors of work are theirs, this is it. Get rid of the ethic commission and let the capitol police handle it. I think you’ll see more “compliance” with the law. It would be nice if the general population(non-political)had an ethics commisssion for all crimes wouldn’t it be nice instead of municipal police offices. This is a crock.

    1. Harry Hoku

      Conn-serv: I’ll agree with you totality on this one. I was once appointed to an ethics commission and it was a joke.

  3. Truth Teller

    Marginalize the story because its a Democrat? Check. Point out a Republican who had the same problem? Check. Declare the story over because the Democrat paid the money back after he was caught? Check.

    Another day in the life of the liberal spin machine called the Courant. Shameless but true.

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