The feds raided the offices of the Waterbury Chamber of Commerce today according to a report from Hartford Courant columnist and blogger Kevin Rennie. The raid raises questions about what lies ahead for former Gov. John Rowland who worked for the chamber for a number of years before his position was defunded. The economic development director position he held was funded by the taxpayers even though Rowland was technically an employee of the chamber.
Rennie updated his story with:
UPDATE: A representative of the Waterbury Chamber of Commerce disputes the blogpost…Attorney Thomas Parisot, of Secor, Cassidy & McPartland, P.C., writes in an email that there was no “raid” at his client’s office. He is specific in highlighting the use of the word “raid.” He so far has declined to answer inquiries about his client’s contact with federal law enforcement officials concerning the criminal investigation into the intersection of John Rowland’s political and business activities.
However, as details became clear, Rennie was basically right, missing only on some details.
The legal troubles for Rowland seem to be mounting. Rennie first reported earlier this month that a federal criminal grand jury seated in New Haven was investigating Rowland in regard to his “volunteering” for the congressional campaign of Lisa Wilson-Foley while simultaneously being paid a total of more than $30,000 as a “consultant” for her husband Brian’s nursing home and rehabilitation business. Rowland was also slapping around Wilson-Foley’s main primary opponent, state Sen. Andrew Roraback, on WTIC-AM.
Now the federal probe appears to be expanding, looking into Rowland’s fulltime job with the Waterbury chamber while working a fulltime gig hosting his radio show. The New Haven Register and the (Torrington) Register Citizen have filed freedom of information complaints against the city after officials failed to turn over Rowland’s emails, memos, other correspondence, work logs, travel schedules, and expensive accounts among other documents.
There is speculation that the economic development job was of the no-show variety. Chamber President Lynn Ward exacerbated things when she told the Register Citizen, “He stopped in this office once in a while…” while being paid $100,000 a year by the taxpayers. Now the feds are apparently getting to the bottom of it all.
Rowland’s best friend today was the US Supreme Court. It buries the FBI raid story a bit in the state’s news cycle. The Obamacare decision is the topic of his radio show Thursday. To its great credit, WTIC-AM news department reported the latest in the Rowland case Friday morning.