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The story of former governor-turned-radio-host John Rowland’s helping political candidates is getting more serious and now involves potentially illegal activities. The Torrington Register’s “Connecticut 5th District” blog is reporting that Rowland, during the 2010 5th district race, offered then-political newcomer Mark Greenberg political help and proposed that Greenberg pay him through his non-profit animal shelter. Greenberg’s spokesman says Greenberg turned down the proposal. If true, Rowland had proposed violating campaign finance laws.
The Hanging Shad has pointed out a seemingly similar arrangement with Lisa Wilson-Foley who is currently seeking the congressional seat (as is Greenberg who failed in 2010). Wilson-Foley’s chief strategist Chris Healy admits that Rowland had a paid, “private business relationship” with Wilson-Foley’s husband Brian Foley’s Apple Rehab business. Healy said Rowland worked in a “consulting capacity” but said he couldn’t elaborate. Yeah, we all know about John Rowland’s expertise in the physical rehab business. Please.
The Greenberg campaign’s claims open up at least two very serious questions: 1) Did the alleged offer to Greenberg constitute a plan to circumvent election laws? And was his work for Brian Foley a similar plan but one that was actually carried out? If so on the latter, then Rowland would be guilty of violating the law. 2) Isn’t WTIC-AM obligated to speak out on these allegations? Station officials have said there is no conflict for their afternoon drive host because he wasn’t being paid. If he was getting paid, indeed, being paid illegally, doesn’t the radio station—which is known for its high ethical standards—have to act quickly and decisively?
Rowland is no stranger to using third parties to pay him to try to elude detection which would cause him trouble. In early 2004, in the midst of the investigation that eventually led to his downfall, federal authorities were investigating the sale of Rowland’s Washington, DC condominium at an inflated price to Woodbury antiques dealer Wayne Pratt. Pratt, who pled guilty to tax charges, admitted that Robert Matthews, a longtime friend of Rowland’s, had given him the money to pay Rowland for the condominium in June 1997. The “DC Deception” was never pursued further because Rowland pled to a single count of “theft of honest services”—a gift from prosecutors and a tribute to the talents of Rowland defense attorney William Dow.
The Hanging Shad emailed requests for comment to Rowland, Healy and a WTIC-AM programming official. None responded.
What will likely happen next is that someone (Greenberg?) files a complaint with the state election enforcement commission or even federal authorities over Rowland’s arrangement “volunteering” for Wilson-Foley after being paid for “consulting” Brian Foley on his rehab facility. This whole story stinks to high heaven and WTIC is right in the middle of the stench.