John G. Rowland
|86th Governor of Connecticut|
January 4, 1995 – July 1, 2004
|Preceded by||Lowell Weicker|
|Succeeded by||Jodi Rell|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Connecticut's 5th district
January 3, 1985 – January 3, 1991
|Preceded by||William R. Ratchford|
|Succeeded by||Gary Franks|
|Member of the Connecticut House of Representatives|
from the 73rd district
|Preceded by||Natalie Rapoport|
|Succeeded by||Joan Hartley|
John Grosvenor Rowland
May 24, 1957
Waterbury, Connecticut, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Deborah Rowland (Divorced)|
|Education||Villanova University (BS)|
John Grosvenor Rowland (born May 24, 1957) is an American politician, author, and convicted felon who served as the 86th Governor of Connecticut from 1995 to 2004. A Republican, he served two nonconsecutive prison terms on various corruption charges. Rowland previously served in the United States House of Representatives from 1985 to 1991, representing the state's 5th district. In 2004, Rowland resigned from office during a corruption investigation, and later pleaded guilty in federal court to a one-count indictment for conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, mail fraud and tax fraud. He was the first Connecticut governor to be elected to three terms since 1784.
He served ten months in a federal prison until February 10, 2006, followed by four months' house arrest at his home in West Hartford, Connecticut, until June 2006. His lieutenant governor, M. Jodi Rell, replaced him as governor.
On April 10, 2014, Rowland was indicted on seven counts for his role in an election fraud case where former congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley, current Vice Chair of the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts and her husband, Brian Foley, pleaded guilty in federal court on March 31, 2014 to illegally paying Rowland $35,000 in campaign consulting fees. He was charged with two counts of falsifying records in a federal investigation, one count of conspiracy, two counts of causing false statements to be made to the FEC, and two counts of causing illegal campaign contributions. He was convicted on all seven counts in September 2014, and was subsequently sentenced to 30 months in prison on March 18, 2015.
He is married to Patty Rowland, his second wife, and the couple has five children between them.
Rowland's political career began in 1980 when, at age 23, he was elected to the Connecticut State House of Representatives. He held his seat until 1984, when he was elected to represent Connecticut's 5th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives and was reelected in 1986 and 1988.
After losing the 1990 gubernatorial race to Lowell P. Weicker Jr., Rowland worked as a consultant for United Technologies Corp. He was later elected governor in 1994 at age 37 (the youngest governor in Connecticut history) and later defeated two Democratic opponents: former US Congresswoman Barbara Bailey Kennelly (63%–35%) in 1998 and former State Comptroller Bill Curry (56%–44%) in 2002.
Rowland resigned abruptly as Governor, July 1, 2004 as he faced impeachment and investigation for corruption. Lieutenant Governor M. Jodi Rell served out the remainder of his term. Rowland is the first Connecticut governor to have ever faced impeachment and he is the only Connecticut governor to have served prison time.
Tenure as Governor
In 2003 Governor Rowland dismissed 2,800 state workers thus violating their union contracts. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City ruled in 2013 that the former Republican governor's administration had violated the workers right to freedom of association. Many workers were eventually rehired or otherwise partially compensated. "They lost benefits, they lost pension, they lost health insurance," creating "real interference" with people's lives, said Union Attorney David Golub.
The Adriaen's Landing project, the most ambitious capital city development project in decades in the state, continued to progress during Rowland's time in office. College campuses were moved, which brought thousands downtown in Hartford, Stamford, Bridgeport and Waterbury. New London's waterfront was thriving as of 2004, with a new global research facility and rebuilt pier. Theaters and museums in all major cities were revitalized, from the Palace Theater in Waterbury to the New Britain's Museum of American Art.
In 1998, Rowland implemented the HUSKY Plan (Healthcare for UninSured Kids and Youth) to provide health insurance to uninsured Connecticut children. During his tenure, the budget for the Department of Children and Families more than doubled. Rowland supported addition to government of the state's first Child Advocate.
Rowland was a strong proponent of a tough stance against violent crime as governor. The prison population grew rapidly during his term, which caused the state to send inmates to prisons in Virginia to deal with overcrowding. Legislative opponents of this policy such as Representative Michael Lawlor urged more rapid release of nonviolent offenders. After Rowland left office the Virginia inmates were returned to Connecticut and more criminals were paroled. This approach was criticized after the 2007 Cheshire home invasion murders committed by two "nonviolent" inmates paroled from Connecticut prison.
Before investigation into his conduct as governor started, Rowland was viewed as a rising star in the Republican Party, and was mentioned as a future presidential or vice-presidential candidate.
Corruption as Governor
In the first year of Rowland's third term (2003), rumors began circulating that contractors doing business with the state, paid for and made improvements to his private weekend home. He also benefited improperly from the sale of a condominium in Washington, D.C. at an inflated price, took bribes from subordinates in state government and took partial ownership in businesses immediately before they were granted state contracts. These eventually led to federal investigations and then indictments of some of Rowland's close aides, who then cooperated with federal investigators. Rowland publicly denied the allegations.
However, in December 2003, Rowland abruptly appeared on television and admitted that work had been done by contractors on his vacation home at no charge, and that his earlier statements to the contrary were untrue. Matters were exacerbated when his wife, Patty Rowland, wrote a satirical poem deriding the media for investigating her husband's wrongdoing.
He claimed that, since the work was done, he had paid the contractors in full; but in January 2004 an official investigation began into charges of corruption and whether he should face impeachment.
On June 18, the Connecticut Supreme Court required Rowland to appear before the investigative panel seeking his testimony, which could have resulted in him giving evidence against impeachment in the ongoing criminal investigation. On June 21, Rowland resigned, effective noon on July 1, 2004.
On December 23, 2004, Rowland pleaded guilty to depriving the public of honest service. Rowland was sentenced on March 18, 2005, in New Haven, Connecticut, to one year and one day in prison, four months' house arrest, three years' probation and community service. On April 1, 2005, he entered Federal Correctional Institution, Loretto, in Pennsylvania. His federal inmate number was 15623-014.
Post release after first incarceration
On February 10, 2006, Rowland was released from federal prison with the stipulation that he serve four months' house arrest with an electronic ankle bracelet monitor.
On July 1, 2006, Rowland spoke to an association of scholar athletes in Kingston, Rhode Island, about the lessons he learned. A "sense of entitlement" and the "arrogance of power" were two of the biggest things that ended his political career, The Hartford Courant quoted him as saying.
He warned that the arrogance is very easy when you're put on a pedestal, and you "start to believe your own press releases. ... It [becomes] all about me. You start to block out what else is around you."
The Courant quoted Rowland as saying that "when you start to find yourself only concerned with yourself" that's the point when you need to find a "grounding force." That should be faith, ideally, he said, or at least "something within yourself"—not just other people.
"I found in my career that a lot of people will tell you how great you are—especially when you're the boss. But there will be that time when that career will be over ... and then it's down to the three F's—faith, family and friends – real faith, real family and real friends."
Rowland, now a resident of West Hartford, told the audience his future is still uncertain. He owes the Internal Revenue Service more than $35,000 and another $40,000 in fines. He said he's a volunteer counselor and hoping to find a publisher for a book he wrote called Falling Into Grace.
Rowland discussed his life after politics in a Washington Post article published June 17, 2007. Rowland discussed his work on the lecture circuit and the factors leading to his political demise. He also expressed disappointment that his successor, Governor M. Jodi Rell had "thrown him under the bus" and distanced herself from him after taking office. Rell declined to criticize Rowland over these remarks.
In January 2008 Waterbury Republican Mayor Michael Jarjura announced that he would hire Rowland as an economic development advisor for the city. Rowland began work in February and received an annual salary of $95,000 as the city's economic development coordinator. Rowland's stint as Waterbury's economic development coordinator ended in 2012.
Life after politics
On April 1, 2014, Connecticut governor Dannel P. Malloy called on WTIC to remove Rowland from the air due to Rowland's implication in a corruption scandal involving former Congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley. Malloy stated: "The reality is that we now know enough—two people have pled guilty to this charge and have identified the party they were engaged with ... unless there's going to be a denial and in light of two actual pleas, both identifying who the third party was, I think any reasonable outlet would remove him at this point […] He had the interesting position of trying to impact and influence political discourse on an afternoon radio show. That somebody would violate that trust as well, is disturbing."  Rowland has often criticized Malloy since the latter took office in 2011. On one occasion, Rowland labeled Malloy a "pathological liar," although he later apologized to Malloy.
On April 3, 2014, Rowland announced that he was leaving as WTIC's afternoon talk-show host "to take care of some personal issues," he said just before 6 p.m, at the end of his regular three-hour time slot.
Investigations by then-Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and by a state legislative committee concerning several separate possible improprieties by him and associates, ensued after Rowland's resignation:
- Work he took between his resignation and imprisonment, as a consultant (and possibly an unregistered lobbyist), would clearly have been illegal if the state's revolving-door law explicitly included the governor as it does other state employees. On August 29, 2005, Rowland's attorney Bartley Halloran reported that Chief State's Attorney Christopher Morano would seek a state arrest warrant against Rowland. The prosecutor's request was subsequently denied.
- Three nonprofit organizations closely associated with large contributors to his campaigns for public office are also mentioned by investigators:
- Michael Bolton Charities Inc., formerly called the Michael Bolton Foundation and established by his contributor, the musician Michael Bolton
- National Science Center Foundation, a Georgia-based vendor to the state and one of the controversial consulting clients
- The Executive Residence Conservancy, Inc., which paid for expenses of the governor's mansion during Rowland's residence there
Campaign fee scandal conviction
On March 31, 2014, husband and wife Brian and Lisa Wilson-Foley, the Vice Chair of the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts Board of Trustees, pleaded guilty in federal court to corruption charges for illegally paying and afterwards hiding campaign consulting fees to the former governor, who is widely considered the main target for the federal probers. In 2012, Wilson-Foley ran for Congress in Connecticut 5th district. Rowland secretly served as a consultant to her campaign.
On September 8, Lisa Foley's husband, Brian Foley, told the jury that his wife had signed a fictional contract with Rowland to create the impression that Rowland was working for a group of nursing homes Foley owned. Instead, Rowland was providing political advice. Despite the statement, Rowland's lawyers insisted that the client was a campaign volunteer and that he was paid for giving Foley advice on his healthcare business, not for being a political consultant. Shortly thereafter on September 16, first defense witness Bedard testified in accord with this line of defense. Bedard claims directly countered prosecutor's charges whereby he states that Rowland: ""The healthcare and nursing home industry was changing and Brian hired him as a consultant to help us move forward," Bedard testified: "The healthcare and nursing home industry was changing and Brian [Foley] hired him [Rowland] as a consultant to help us move forward. ... He knew the politics and practical ways to speed along Medicaid payments that were often delayed by between nine months to a year."
On September 19, 2014 Rowland was convicted on federal charges that he conspired to hide payment for his work on two congressional campaigns. He was convicted in New Haven federal court of all seven counts, including conspiracy, falsifying records in a federal investigation, causing false statements to be made to the Federal Election Commission and causing illegal campaign contributions. On March 18, 2015 Rowland was sentenced to prison for 30 months by U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton. Judge Arterton also fined Rowland $35,000 and ordered him to serve three years of supervision by the federal probation office upon his release. Rowland turned down the opportunity to speak and is planning on appealing the sentence. His conviction was upheld by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City on June 17, 2016. Rowland served less than the full 30 month term and was released from federal custody on May 26, 2018.
|A Connecticut Party||Lowell P. Weicker||460,576||40.36|
|A Connecticut Party||Eunice Strong Groark||216,585||18.88|
|Republican||John Rowland (incumbent)||628,707||62.90|
|Republican||John Rowland (incumbent)||573,958||56.11|
- "Judge Sends Rowland, Ex-Connecticut Governor, Back to Prison". Retrieved 2018-11-19.
- Honest Services Mail Fraud defined and discussed at Findlaw.com. Accessed March 17, 2008.
- US Dept of Justice Press Release[dead link]
- Feds Want Prison For Lisa Wilson-Foley In Rowland Case/ Archived March 23, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
- Ex-Connecticut Gov. John Rowland Indicted In Alleged Campaign Scheme
- Mahony, Edmund (March 18, 2015). "Ex-Governor John Rowland Sentenced To 30 Months In Prison". Hartford Courant. Retrieved April 25, 2015.
-  | April 28, 2015 | Settlement reached in 2003 Connecticut layoff lawsuit | SUSAN HAIGH Associated Press | 
- of Connecticut Archive of Governor's Bio
- News Item Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, New Haven Register.
- Public Safety Performance Archived November 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine produced by the Pew Center on the States.
- Parole Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine at Courant.com
- G. Rowland News: Topical Coverage, New York Times
- First Lady Patty Rowland's poem at The New York Times.
- Rowland Recounts Lessons Learned Hartford Courant, by Valerie Finholm, Courant staff writer July 2, 2006.
- Former Conn. governor makes his first speech after prison by Ray Henry, Associated Press Writer, July 1, 2006, accessed from Web site of the Boston Globe on July 2, 2006.
- Rowland now a homeowner in Middlebury at Boston.com
- A Look Back, And Up: An Ex-Gov. and Ex-Con Reflects on Three Terms In Office and One in Jail, June 16, 2007, Washington Post.
- Rell on Rowland and the Budget Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, June 18, 2007.
- Rowland Job Archived January 25, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- For Rowland, Second Chance of a Lifetime, by Woody Hochschwender, The New York Times, February 24, 2008.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. Retrieved April 4, 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 9, 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-09.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- WFSB News Story[permanent dead link]
- https://www.nytimes.com, April 26, 2006, "Connecticut Official and State Contractor Are Each Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison" by Allison Leigh Cowan 
- Weinzel, Richard. "Ex-Connecticut Governor Rowland cut phony consulting deal: witness". Reuters. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
- Weizel, Richard. "Connecticut ex-governor opens defense in campaign law trial". Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- United States Congress. "John G. Rowland (id: R000482)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- Appearances on C-SPAN
|Connecticut House of Representatives|
| Member of the Connecticut House of Representatives
from the 73rd district
|U.S. House of Representatives|
William R. Ratchford
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 5th congressional district
| Baby of the House
|Party political offices|
| Republican nominee for Governor of Connecticut
1990, 1994, 1998, 2002
| Chair of the Republican Governors Association
Lowell P. Weicker
| Governor of Connecticut