Thursday, February 24, 2005

Is there going to more evidence that a corrupt system protects its own?


Rowland Grand Jury Probe Ends

Friend's Dealings With State Remain Under Investigation

February 24, 2005By EDMUND H. MAHONY, JON LENDER, And DAVE ALTIMARI Courant Staff Writers

Federal prosecutors have wrapped up the grand jury investigation that led to corruption charges against former Gov. John G. Rowland, but sources say investigators are still examining Rowland friend Robert V. Matthews' business dealings with the state.

The dismissal of the grand jury that stirred turmoil in the state's political establishment was disclosed in a footnote to a federal appeals court decision released earlier this week. More than two years of grand jury proceedings on the case ended on Jan. 24, the footnote said.

Rowland pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge a month earlier, on Dec. 23, and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 11. Three of the ex-governor's associates - construction executive William Tomasso, former Rowland co-chief of staff Peter N. Ellef, and Ellef's son Peter N. Ellef II - were indicted by the grand jury on a variety of corruption charges in September.

They have pleaded not guilty.

The discharge by the U.S. attorney's office of the grand jury appears to end a multi-year investigation of allegations that members of the Rowland administration steered millions of dollars of state contracts in return for lucrative gifts and payoffs. But sources said law enforcement interest in Matthews has not flagged.

Matthews, whose companies received $4 million in state loan guarantees from a state development authority controlled by the administration, surfaced repeatedly over the course of the Rowland investigation - perhaps most notably for agreeing to first rent, then buy, Rowland's Washington, D.C., condominium at significantly inflated prices.

Investigators have pored over records of the loan guarantees and the condominium transactions. In March 2004, Woodbury antiques dealer Wayne Pratt pleaded guilty to a federal tax violation in connection with the condominium sale. Pratt admitted he agreed to act as a middleman in the sale in an effort to disguise the transaction between Rowland and Matthews.

However, sources have said evidence concerning the condominium transactions may not have been presented to the Rowland grand jury. That suggests federal prosecutors may be pursuing a separate line of inquiry involving Matthews, lawyers familiar with the investigation have said.

Matthews' involvement in the Rowland investigation is not the multimillionaire developer's first brush with federal law enforcement. He narrowly escaped prosecution about a decade ago after making a secret payment to another Waterbury politician, then-Mayor Joseph J. Santopietro, who was later convicted. In the early 1990s - at a time when Matthews had a substantial real estate portfolio in the city - Matthews gave $25,000 in cash to Santopietro in a brown paper bag, several sources familiar with the Santopietro case say.

Sources familiar with the Rowland investigation believe that federal authorities have been trying to build a tax fraud case against Matthews. Late last year, sources said, prosecutors were seeking state tax returns for Matthews' businesses. Lawyers familiar with the investigation said federal officials could empanel a new grand jury to examine Matthews' tax and business dealings.

The discharge of the Rowland grand jury could be good news for other Rowland friends and business associates who, over the last two years, have been caught up in the investigation.

Among those are:

Theodore Anson, former state commissioner of the state Department of Public Works, who resigned under pressure after it was revealed he accepted a free set of plans for an addition to his Bridgewater home from Kaestle Boos, a New Britain architectural firm that has worked extensively with the Tomassos.

P.J. Delahunty, former deputy commissioner of public works, who was involved in the award of millions of dollars of state contracts to Tomasso companies and provided free work through his private construction company on Rowland's Litchfield vacation cottage on Bantam Lake.

Michael H. Cicchetti, Rowland's longtime personal lawyer and sometime business partner, and Watertown paving contractor Anthony Cocchiola, both partners in a land deal in which Rowland made about $60,000 off an investment of $7,000 - less than any other partner contributed.

The lucrative land investment partnership was called First Development Group LLC and built a 24-lot subdivision in Naugatuck.Cocchiola's paving company received about $900,000 in state work after the partnership was formed. He also did $2,000 worth of work at Rowland's Litchfield cottage in October 1997 and wasn't paid until September of 2004.

What piqued investigators' interest was a $175,000 grant given to the town of Prospect in 2000 to study the feasibility of building an industrial park on land owned by a partnership called RMK Prospect Associates. That partnership included all of the partners in First Development Group, except Rowland.

Cicchetti approached the town in 1998 about buying his group's land for an industrial park. He then met with state Department of Economic Development officials to pitch the project in May 1999. Department officials eventually decided to give the town a $175,000 grant.

The grant was approved by the State Bond Commission, chaired by Rowland, who voted for it. If the industrial park is built on the land owned by Cicchetti and Cocchiola they stand to make millions of dollars by selling the property to the town of Prospect, which would probably require even more state money to complete the purchase.

The above came from the Hartford Courant website.

Fair use of copyrighted material

* * * *

My email to incoming Gov. Rell of Connecticut regarding Rowland and corruption

How can there not still be sleaze in the Connecticut Governor’s Office, if former Rowland aids are answering Rell’s phones? (post)

Can cops rape, rob, beat, and murder with immunity?
(post contains pictures of young adults brutalized by police, and picture of a 1978 Chevrolet Corvette and one of the houses I fixed up from a boarded up condition)

This blogger's email:

* * * *

Names named, criminals in Stafford Springs, Connecticut, reported but nothing is done by the armed revenue collectors and the money collecting, not criminal correcting, court system


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are such a UTZ!

Do you ever post anything of your own or just steal others words?

So how was prison? Ready to go back?

Friday, February 25, 2005 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger The Stark Raving Viking said...

I'm not stealing anything.

Those that wrote what they did are given credit.

Bloggers use the material of others to make a point. It is called Blogging.I'm not making a profit on what I write, at least not yet.

I sign my name to what I think and write, anonymous.

Whether you are a woman or man, do you not have the balls to post your name with your opinion?

The fact that you took the time to post a comment, shows I struck a nerve.

Those that I talk about and am after tend to fall.

I believe the 3 on my shit list, Governor John G. Rowland, Arthur L. Spada, and Judge Jonathan Kaplan know the power of my blogs and my words.

Each has had to eat a large portion of crow since I started blogging on the Internet.

Newspaper stories and the words of others posted in a string have helped greatly.

Anonymous, if you don't like it, "Tough Shit"

BTW, I emailed a sitting governor and a sitting head Connecticut State Police Commissioner, Arthur L. Spada, and told both to go fuck themselves and eat shit.

I wasn't arrested for that, nor am I now in prison.

I watched as heroin and crack dealers, vandal, prostitutes, and common career criminals were ignored by police and the courts, to target me for complaining about police and judicial misconduct in newspapers, yes, I was printed in newspapers.

So if those assholes were willing to adequately serve taxpayers, all taxpayers, and didn't screw over those that dare to speak out, testing the first ammendment, I would have no reason to blog here and on, would I?

-Steven G. Erickson aka Vikingas

Friday, February 25, 2005 12:21:00 PM  

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