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Wilson-Foley, Husband Implicate Rowland in Guilty Pleas

by Christine Stuart and Hugh McQuaid | Mar 31, 2014 6:00pm
(26) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Courts, Election 2012, Legal

CTNJ file photo

Lisa Wilson-Foley concedes

WTIC Former Gov. John G. Rowland is in hot water again. Former congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley and her husband, Brian Foley, pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to illegally paying Rowland $35,000 in campaign consulting fees.

Rowland, who resigned as governor in 2004 and subsequently pleaded guilty to corruption charges, is not named in the court documents and has not been charged. However, a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office describes a co-conspirator in terms very similar to the former governor’s circumstances: “Wilson-Foley believed that, because the co-conspirator had previously been convicted of a felony offense, disclosure of his paid role in the campaign would result in substantial negative publicity for Wilson-Foley’s candidacy.” Further, according to the Courant’s account of events in court today, Lisa Wilson-Foley told the court that her husband failed to report payments to Rowland while the former governor was working on her campaign.

Rowland has retained Reid Weingarten of Steptoe & Johnson LLP to represent him. Weingarten did not immediately return calls for comment Monday.

According to court documents, Wilson-Foley and her husband paid Rowland to be a consultant to her 2012 Congressional campaign. But the money wasn’t paid to the campaign. It was paid to Apple Rehab, one of the businesses the couple manages.

Wilson-Foley and Foley are scheduled to be sentenced on June 23 before Judge Warren W. Eginton in Bridgeport. They face a maximum of one year in prison fines of up to $100,000.

Rowland is now an afternoon talk show host on WTIC 1080-AM. Wilson-Foley’s opponents, including a former F.B.I. agent, and an attorney complained that he used his position as a radio talk show host to attack them.

Back in April 2012, the Register Citizen wrote a story questioning Rowland’s involvement with the Wilson-Foley campaign and Mike Clark, the former F.B.I. agent and opponent in the race, filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission.

“First, there may have been a violation by the Wilson-Foley campaign in failing to report as contributions to it the payments made by Apple Health Care, Inc. to John Rowland for services that may have benefited the campaign,” Clark’s complaint read. “Under 11 CFR 102.8-102.10, anything of value given to influence a campaign is considered a contribution. Second, any payments by Apple Health Care, Inc. to John Rowland for campaign-related activities would be a clear violation of 11 CFR 114.2.”

Clark later dropped out of the race and supported former Sen. Andrew Roraback, who was defeated in the General Election by U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty.

A few months after Clark’s complaint, attorney Ken Krayeske filed an unsuccessful complaint in 2012 with the Federal Communications Commission, based on one show, during which Rowland grilled Roraback, one of Wilson-Foley’s opponents. During the show Rowland criticized Roraback over his stance on abolishing the death penalty, then gave out Roraback’s cell phone number to listeners. 

Court documents released Monday lay out a timeline of communications between the Foleys and Rowland, who is only referred to as “co-conspirator 1,” as they set up the contract and conspired to hide their political agreement.

Rowland emailed Wilson-Foley in early September 2011 to say: “I have an idea to run by you, what days are good?” The two met about a week later and that’s when Rowland laid out his plans to have Wilson-Foley fire her Washington-based consultant and hire him. Four days after that is when Rowland told her that he had been approached by one of her opponents, but would “prefer to work for Wilson-Foley.”

The two inked a contract in October and the money for Rowland’s consulting help came from Foley’s business, and not the campaign account. Court documents show that the Wilson-Foley campaign and Rowland tried to keep the agreement as secret as possible, but found that it wasn’t easy.

“Political Advisor 1 advised that a reporter claimed to know that Co-Conspirator 1 “is ‘working’ for us, which I said was incorrect. I said [Co-Conspirator 1] was offering advise [sic] and was supportive (he had the fact that [Co-Conspirator 1] was calling delegates) but doing it freely and on his own time. I said he was not being paid,” court documents read.

“On or about April 21, 2012, Political Advisor 1 drafted talking points designed to mislead the public concerning the true purpose of the payments to Co-Conspirator 1, and circulated those talking points to Co-Conspirator 1, FOLEY, WILSON-FOLEY and Campaign Worker 2.”

A few days later they put out a press release regarding the payments to Rowland in an attempt to mislead the public.

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(26) Comments

posted by: Lawrence | March 31, 2014  6:15pm

Now let’s see if that right-wing bastion of conservative vomit,  “The Right Talk WTIC-AM 1080” keeps Rowland on the air.

posted by: Joebigjoe | March 31, 2014  6:27pm

Time for WTIC to ask John to not show up for work anymore. To do so before this information today would have been premature but now is the time.

Neither Foley will go to jail. Lots of community service and financial donations.

I don’t think Rowland should go either because there are elected officials that lie through their teeth to the people and get rich doing it. Its time to go after them first.

posted by: art vandelay | March 31, 2014  7:16pm

art vandelay

If John Rowland kept his nose out of politics he would have had a nice career in Connecticut Talk Radio.  I think WTIC has no choice but to let him go.  I wish WTIC had the guts to hire Dan Lovollo for the afternoon drive time slot.

posted by: perturbed | March 31, 2014  8:28pm

perturbed

We can only hope part of the plea-bargain includes nailing Rowland. That lying crook needs to go back to jail.

I wouldn’t know how to research this, but it would be great to know just how much of our long term debt burden was created under Rowland and his contractor buddies. How many new state buildings did he hand them to build? How many were needed? What percentage are now (or were ever) fully occupied?

The worst part about Rowland’s sleazy reign of corruption is that it hasn’t ended yet. He received $50,800 in taxpayer-funded pension last calendar year—all for his, what, nine years of arrogant, criminal conduct? That’s way more than I’ll ever get after 30 years of state service with a clean record!

—perturbed

posted by: RJEastHartford | March 31, 2014  9:21pm

Another probe for former State GOP Chair Christopher Healey and political consultant / advisor “1”: “Make Blue Green$$$”

posted by: art vandelay | March 31, 2014  9:25pm

art vandelay

@preturbed,
And Malloy is NOT adding to the long term debt?  This state has been on a spending binge since the days of William O’Neill.  Democrats as well as Republicans are to blame.

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | March 31, 2014  9:33pm

DrHunterSThompson

Bummer Johnny!

Honestly, I thought he got a bit too much time in jail last time around. This time, I’m not sure he will get enough.

HST

posted by: art vandelay | March 31, 2014  9:45pm

art vandelay

Will the Gun Lobby PLEASE nominate a candidate for Governor!  The Republicans are in such disarray they couldn’t even elect Secretary of Sanitation Services come November.

posted by: dano860 | April 1, 2014  6:34am

Art, we’re going to need a good Sanitation Engineer/ Service to clean up the deification that has been spread around the State. The bigger issue will be getting a contractor to do it, a government run bureaucratic department / agency will only make it thicker.

posted by: Commuter | April 1, 2014  6:56am

As a matter of public record, Malloy has reduced the state’s long-term obligations (pension liabilities by billions of dollars) while making the current payments due according to the actuaries calculations. And the state’s bonded debt has remained flat since taking office.

posted by: GBear423 | April 1, 2014  7:06am

GBear423

@Art-  I do not think the Gun Lobby has a big enough say in CTGOP, just an observation. Its an influence, but there is such a HUGE establishment mentality that we need to keep putting up socially liberal Republicans.
I hope Rowland goes away, CT needs him to. and they need to throw the book at the Foleys, an example should be made.

posted by: StanMuzyk | April 1, 2014  9:19am

@Art: Please try to clean your crystal ball.  Voters may finally get tired of the current sad state of affairs, especially if a Rowland type of scandal hits the Malloy administration. Your expert opinion at this point, must be taken with a grain of salt. Even with Malloy’s daily taxpayer-paid reelection press releases—his job approval rating is under 50%.  Never say never.

posted by: StanMuzyk | April 1, 2014  11:24am

@GBeard423: Haven’t the Foley’s been punished enough for your satisfaction?

posted by: NoNonsense2014 | April 1, 2014  11:44am

Gee, I’ll bet the Foleys are really, really happy with the advice they got from their $35,000 consultant! Were they too ambitious or just stupid to go along with his scheme? And especially AFTER he had already been rejected by one of Wilson-Foley’s opponents!

posted by: Salmo | April 1, 2014  3:37pm

I appreciate that Malloy is no prize but do we really want people like these running our State? I wouldn’t want any one of them living next door to me.

posted by: StanMuzyk | April 1, 2014  5:56pm

@perturbed: Who told you that
life was fair?

posted by: GBear423 | April 2, 2014  6:47am

GBear423

@Stan When your a Repub in CT, you are under a microscope. When you [mess] up, then you ought to pay dearly.  Dealing with Rowland… If your considering it, then your guilty of something bad already. They plead guilty, so automatically you know if they fought it, it would get very damaging for them.  There is some bad going on that is not being released by the US Attorney so he gets a guilty plea.

posted by: art vandelay | April 2, 2014  12:15pm

art vandelay

@GBear423,
You’re 100 % correct. When it comes to ethics it’s a one way street.  The Dems did everything they could to cover Ernest Newton’s exploits until it was way over the top.  Chris Donovan got a free pass, but 4 of his associates took the rap.  Lou DeLuca had to resign his leadership post and ultimately gave up his Senate seat.  Rowland!  Well you know the rest of the story.

posted by: art vandelay | April 2, 2014  9:53pm

art vandelay

@Commuter,
You must be living in a fantasy dream world when it comes to Malloy, Democrats & Liberals.  Take a step back and think about the state’s current fiscal shape and what Malloy is professing.  How can this state possible be in a surplus mode with the millions (billions) Malloy & the Democrats have spent these past 4 years.  The Busway, Jackson Labs, The “First 5” now 50, unlimited bonding and the list goes on.  What shared sacrifices has the state employee unions surrendered?  NONE!.  Wake up and PLEASE smell the roses.  This state is in the tank and the longer the Democrats are in control the worse it’s going to get.  And yes the Republicans are not the answer either.  They are in some respects as much to blame.  We have zero fiscal conservatives in this state who can stop the spending madness.  This state WILL be the next Detroit within 10 years.

posted by: LongJohn47 | April 3, 2014  3:20pm

Art—perhaps you don’t read the newspapers, but here’s a fact for you: CT will run a surplus this year. 

Here’s another fact, also easily found in five seconds using google—state employees gave up $1.6 billion in 2011

But you hate Malloy so much that facts don’t matter.

posted by: StanMuzyk | April 3, 2014  7:32pm

@Art:  The state will be another Detroit in a lot less than 10 years—unless voters correct up their past errant voting pattern. in November. If we do not clean house, Connecticut is going to be in even deeper fiscal trouble—very quickly. We can’t believe Malloy press releases—as they are only telling us what they want us to believe.
The time is past due for a change—which means it’s either now or never.

posted by: art vandelay | April 3, 2014  10:13pm

art vandelay

@LongJohn47,
I believe StanMuzyk is 100% right on the money. I think you’ve been drinking the Democrat Kool-Aid too long and see Malloy through rose colored glasses.

posted by: Joebigjoe | April 4, 2014  6:22am

The problem is that Rowland has broken the law.

The bigger problem is lets say Malloy doesnt win and the new Governor comes in with their staff and finds that some things that were told the people of this state about our fiscal position turn out to have been lies. This is a problem we have created as citizens as the real crook if that happens would not be in jail.

35,000 vs misleading the public on many millions? This is not just Malloy,  but could be a Republican doing the same thing, but why are we focused on getting to the bottom the small stuff? We have just accepted that lying to us is politics, when it should be a felony, the same way it would be for a CEO of Enron or any publicly traded company.

posted by: LongJohn47 | April 4, 2014  10:47am

Art—did you bother to read either of the articles cited?  Do facts matter at all to you?

posted by: art vandelay | April 4, 2014  11:44am

art vandelay

@LongJohn47,
I don’t believe any numbers coming from the Malloy Administration.  It’s Voodoo Economics on STEROIDS.  This governor is putting the state in a deficit beyond biblical proportions.

posted by: LongJohn47 | April 4, 2014  1:48pm

Art—Kevin Lembo is not part of “the Malloy Administration”.  He’s independently elected, honest, and trustworthy.  His job is to evaluate the numbers and report on where we stand, and his analysis is that we’re going to have a surplus this year. http://www.osc.ct.gov/public/news/releases/20140303.html

You can read his April 1st monthly report here http://www.osc.ct.gov/reports/monthly/2014/LetApril1.pdf

He’s also just established an “Open Connecticut” database so you can dive into the numbers yourself.  http://www.osc.ct.gov/openCT.html

So, while you hate Malloy and think he’s driving the state into a ditch, you might actually want to get some facts before declaring we’re on the verge of becoming Detroit (which is total nonsense and hardly worthy of debate).

No one is saying that the state’s economy is booming, and we can reasonably differ on what should be done to improve it, but it really helps to have conversations based on facts rather than pure opinion, however passionately believed.