Former Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland, identified in federal court as a co-conspirator in a campaign finance fraud case, signed off from his afternoon radio talk show Thursday, saying he’s leaving the station to “take care of some personal issues.”
April 3, 2014 11:17PM
By Susan Haigh
HARTFORD — Former Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland, identified in federal court as a co-conspirator in a campaign finance fraud case, signed off from his afternoon radio talk show Thursday, saying he’s leaving the station to “take care of some personal issues.”
The Republican’s announcement came at the end of his three-hour program. Rowland first told listeners the Boston Red Sox game would be aired on Friday, then said “today will be my last show as I’m leaving the station to take care of some personal issues.” Rowland then thanked his listeners for their “tremendous support” and loyalty.
“It’s been a great experience and we’ll take it from there. And God bless you all,” he said.
Jenneen Lee, the program director at Farmington-based WTIC News Talk 1080, confirmed the station had accepted Rowland’s decision. Shortly after he signed off, Rowland’s blog “You can’t make this stuff up” and his profile were removed from WTIC’s website.
On Monday, former Republican 5th Congressional District candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley and her husband pleaded guilty in a scheme to create a phony contract that hid the consulting role Rowland, a former congressman from the same district, played in her campaign. Rowland provided nominal services to Foley’s nursing home company to create a cover that he was being paid for those services instead of his work on behalf of Wilson-Foley’s campaign, authorities said. Rowland has not been charged.
Rowland, who was elected governor three times, resigned from the state’s top office in 2004 amid another scandal. He ultimately served 10 months in a federal prison camp on a corruption-related charge.
Wilson-Foley wanted Rowland to work on her campaign but believed that because he had been convicted of a felony, disclosure of his paid role in the campaign would result in substantial negative publicity, authorities said.
Rowland was paid about $35,000 for his services, authorities said. Wilson-Foley ultimately lost the Republican primary in 2012.
David Walker, a Republican who announced Thursday he was officially running for lieutenant governor in this year’s election, was Rowland’s last guest. He told The Associated Press that he had no idea Rowland planned to announce he was stepping down.
“He didn’t say a word to me that this was his last show,” Walker said.
Walker described Rowland as “a little bit preoccupied” but “generally engaged with the interview.”
The day after Wilson-Foley and her husband pleaded guilty, reporters gathered at the studios to get reaction from the former governor. He refused to speak with reporters and said on-air he was not going to discuss “the recent news and legal developments,” adding “I’m sure you all understand and I want to respect the process.”
Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy this week said he believed Rowland should be taken off the air in light of the new case, calling the scandal “deeply disappointing” for the state of Connecticut.
Rowland “was not serving in public office but 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,” Malloy said.