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Hartford Attorney Renews Complaint Against Radio Station

by | Oct 2, 2014 5:30am () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Campaign Finance, Legal, Media Matters

Christine Stuart file photo A Hartford attorney filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission Wednesday alleging that WTIC-AM 1080 violated federal communications law while they employed former governor and convicted felon John G. Rowland as a talk show host in 2012.

Attorney Ken Krayeske said he filed an informal objection to WTIC’s broadcast license renewal on the grounds that Rowland’s involvement with Lisa Wilson-Foley’s 2012 campaign constituted “covert on-air electioneering” that the stationed tacitly condoned.

WTIC’s broadcast license is currently on enforcement hold, which means the FCC has declined to grant a renewal of the license while they are investigating a possible violation by the station. WTIC can continue to broadcast until the FCC takes action on their application.

WTIC Program Director Jenneen Lee said in an email Monday that the station was unaware of any enforcement hold and could not provide more information. The FCC declined to say why the station was being investigated, but an FCC official did confirm that there was an enforcement hold on the license renewal.

“I hope the enforcement hold means where there was smoke, there was fire,” Krayeske said Wednesday in a phone interview. This is the third complaint he has filed with federal regulators since 2012 alleging criminal activity on part of WTIC and Rowland. “It’s good they’re finally taking action,” he said. 

Krayeske claims that in light of Rowland’s recent conviction, there is strong evidence that the former governor and the station that employed him violated FCC regulations and campaign finance disclosure laws.

Former campaign workers testified during the trial that Rowland used his radio talk show to support Wilson-Foley’s campaign, without disclosing that he was paid a total of $35,000 by her husband’s nursing home company. WTIC also knew there was a relationship between Rowland and the campaign, but Krayeske alleges they failed to investigate it sufficiently.

“Given Mr. Rowland’s public record of mistruth and dishonesty, starting with the place of purchase of kitchen cabinets in his cottage in Litchfield, Connecticut, and culminating in his resignation from the office of Governor and his conviction on federal corruption charges, WTIC acted irresponsibly in taking Mr. Rowland at his word,” Krayeske wrote in his complaint. “The FCC should not let WTIC-1080 off with a slap on the wrist. WTIC has demonstrated serious malfeasance.”

Asked why he thought the FCC would wait to take action, Krayeske said “It is plausible that the Justice Department called the FCC and told them to lay off during the investigation.”

He speculated that now that Rowland has been convicted and witnesses have gone on record confirming his suspicions, the FCC may be more willing to move against WTIC-AM.

“I expect more comprehensive prosecution from executive branch agencies of law-breaking corporations,” Krayeske said.

In his complaint to the FCC, he references another complaint made to the Federal Election Commission in 2012.

Back in May 2012, Krayeske complained that Rowland coordinated a political attack against Wilson-Foley’s opponent, Andrew Roraback.

“It appears that the Wilson-Foley campaign and John Rowland coordinated a political attack against at least one of her opponents, Andrew Roraback, using live air time on CBS Radio Inc.’s WTIC-1080 AM’s frequency,” Krayeske’s May 2012 complaint states. “This live air time is a commodity that should have been paid for by the Wilson-Foley campaign or be listed as a contribution to the Wilson-Foley campaign.”

That same complaint mentions the fact that Rowland gave out Roraback’s cellphone number on the air to get angry listeners to call him about his position on the death penalty.

During the recent trial, Roraback testified that the callers told him Rowland was the one who asked them to call.

Chris Syrek, one of Wilson-Foley’s campaign managers, testified a few weeks ago that on Feb. 23, 2012, Rowland emailed him during the show. He was talking about the death penalty on the air and wanted Roraback’s personal phone number.

“Rohrback [sic] home phone number ? givuing [sic] out his and [Democratic Sen. Edith] Prague contact info,” Rowland emailed Syrek.

“Ha that’s awesome,” Syrek responded. “Want his cell?”

Rowland read the number on the air and asked listeners to call Roraback.

Rowland denied in a Sept. 13, 2012 handwritten letter to election regulators that he had ever given out Roraback’s cellphone number on-air.

The FEC wrote Krayeske on March 6, 2014 telling him “there is no reason to believe CBS Radio Stations, Inc. (WTIC) or John Rowland violated” election law. In that same letter, election regulators told Krayeske they closed the file on the matter.

Krayeske said Wednesday he intends to file an appeal of that decision with the FEC in the future. 

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(12) Archived Comments

posted by: GBear423 | October 2, 2014  7:21am

GBear423

oh he isn’t looking for a political career…

who is this guy?  he has to be more than a “Hartford attorney”. he has an agenda, he was quoted in a Rowland trial article I recall, and recall wondering what relevance this guy has.
So this attorney is filing an objection to a station that is already being investigated… um ok… The problem is being addressed, is this not redundant? Is there not State or US Attorneys that do this that WE actually pay to do this?

posted by: Noteworthy | October 2, 2014  12:02pm

Krayeske must have time on his hands waiting for his next slip and fall case to hobble in the door. I guess it’s better than doodling..then again…

posted by: SocialButterfly | October 2, 2014  12:26pm

@GBear423: Ken Krayeske is entitled to sue as a private citizen and he is an attorney- at-law, “so why the cross-hair
indignation on your part?”

posted by: unionleo | October 2, 2014  1:51pm

I sent in my letter to the FCC - for whatever it’s worth. WTIC violated the public trust as they let Con John spew his venom and ambush people like Andrew Rohrback in a payola like scene at WTIC. They defended Rowland - who now will spend more time in jail for lying and cheating on and off the air.  Kudos to Ken Krayeske - for standing up, speaking out and taking action. If we don’t sound off and do our part to let the regulators know our discontent with the WTIC abuse of airwaves we all own, then more bad stuff happens. Like maybe Con John live from cell block 7. ugh!
You too can write to the FCC and sound off, Connecticut - 455 12th St SW - Washington DC 20554

posted by: bob8/57 | October 2, 2014  2:47pm

bob8/57

Bravo, Attorney Ken Krayeske, and best of luck.

posted by: GBear423 | October 2, 2014  3:49pm

GBear423

I think I pointed out it seems redundant. Is he looking to get a monetary winning? has he been wronged?

These are questions that this reader has, that the article does not cover. he is just a private citizen?  Are you certain? Its not stated, only that he is a Hartford attorney, well so is George Jepsen.

posted by: CT Jim | October 3, 2014  8:26am

GBear, you seem rather nervous about this whole FCC thing why is that? Could it be that WTIC will finally be exposed as nothing more than a right wing radio station on the air for one thing only and that’s to elect right wing republicans of their choosing? And does it go deeper? Has Vicevich engaged in the sane type of behavior? And was it really smart for them to replace Johnny felon with his partner in crime Pastor Will? Who by the way is far from God like. Yeah maybe it’s time to shut down this mess of a station and give the people a real news station

posted by: SocialButterfly | October 3, 2014  11:04am

@GBear423: What attorney is not interested in monetary winning? That’s the way lawyer’s make a living. Ken Krayeske bravely fights a system that he feels is wronged. Kudos to Mr. Krayeske “as we need more lawyer’s who are not only rubbers stamps to make a dollar.”

posted by: commonsnz | October 3, 2014  6:23pm

John Rowland had to be taken off the air in a case of;give a plea deal to the murderer to get the the guy who loaded the gun; as one of Malloy’s most vocal opposition.
Next lets go after WTIC.
Oh, living in a blue state!

posted by: dano860 | October 3, 2014  11:05pm

It’s definitely a follow the money issue.
So what if they are a ‘right wing’ station, the advertisers make a conscious choice when they choose a station to work with.
What is a ‘god like’ being? Who might Pastor Will emulate that fills that label?

posted by: whatsprogressiveaboutprogressives? | October 4, 2014  10:37am

The FCC is another lame duck agency. Just look at all of the garbage that is spewed on the tv during viewing times when kids are watching. Take for example, the ABC Family channel. Being that it has “family” in it’s title, you would think it’s appropriate for the little ones. Far from the truth. This whole possible fcc license revocation/punishment for WTIC has one person written all over it: Obama. They want to punish them for their complete conservative lineup and their anti-malloy rhetoric. What makes one think that Obama is only going to use the IRS as his bullywhip to enforce his beliefs? Oh yeah, I forgot, it’s just another ring wing conspiracy to defame an honorable president.

posted by: tom G | October 20, 2014  9:37am

Google Ken Krayeske and you will see he walks the walk for your civil liberties large and small, left and right. Such as, the right to take photographs of a public gathering. The genocides in Rwanda and Sarajevo were started by radio personalities with political ties, with the complicity of the stations. Rowland and Vicevich are halfway to Milosevich and WTIC is complicit.

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