Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Outrage that should have been acted on back in 1997

"The Godfather"- The State Posted by Hello

The Corruption Connecticut isn't just Connecticut, but the path can be followed up on for the national web of deceit.

Character Trouble continued

We may soon find out.

Rumors abound at the Capitol that Rowland himself received more surplus military equipment than has been publicly accounted for, an accusation that Department of Public Safety Commissioner Kenneth Kirschner denies.

While New Haven State's Attorney Michael Dearington says no prosecutable offenses were committed by the governor, more information may be forthcoming. New Haven civil rights lawyer John Williams, who is D'Angelo's attorney, says that Kirschner, as head of the state police force, knew what D'Angelo was up to. Williams says Kirschner knew D'Angelo gave the meat grinder to his neighbor and did nothing to stop D'Angelo. More importantly, Williams says some of D'Angelo's superiors also told D'Angelo to give their friends various pieces of equipment from the federal stockpile.

Williams claims his client is a fall guy, an unknowing patsy who has done nothing wrong. He says D'Angelo, who claims to have worked for Kirschner as a "gofer," is twisting in the wind because he is caught in the middle of feuding factions within the ranks of the state police force. Some cops want to embarrass Rowland, says Williams; others want to protect him.

Rowland, for his part, insists that he didn't know anything about D'Angelo's alleged abuse of the Section 1033 program or the fact that his kids had taken some of the surplus goods until after the deeds had been done. But Rowland's story about picking up the goods is full of holes. In one case, he says he went to pick up his kids at the Meriden garage where D'Angelo worked.

There he planned to meet up with Susan C. Lajoie, a deputy commissioner at the Department of Environmental Protection and Rowland appointee who was babysitting Rowland's two sons and his daughter. Lajoie is also a friend of D'Angelo's.

The kids got into Rowland's car with the equipment in bags, Rowland has said. It's unclear whether D'Angelo was there that day, how Lajoie gained entry to the garage or whether at any time Rowland dealt directly with D'Angelo.

In another version, Rowland says he just swung by the Meriden storage facility to check on his kids. The sleeping bags made their way back home without Rowland's help.

There will be no further accounting called for by state police; Kirschner says Rowland's answers are good enough for him.

But the governor's connection to the Section 1033 business has already become more intriguing than the saga of how D'Angelo operated. State police sources say it was D'Angelo's mention of Rowland and the fear that D'Angelo had kept records and would name names if prosecuted that led state police to drag out their investigation for six months.

Indeed, the arrest warrant shows that investigators had already seized a handgun from D'Angelo's kitchen table that was obtained through one of his backroom deals in January.

Rowland's ethically compromised behavior as governor began long before the Northstar controversy started making headlines several months ago.

The first instance came on the campaign trail for governor in 1994. The Hartford Courant tried to get a report released from the Middlebury Police Department relating to a domestic incident on April 10, 1994 at the home of his ex-wife Deborah.

The report, according to Middlebury Police Chief Patrick J. Bona, contained an uncorroborated allegation of a crime and therefore did not have to be released.

The Courant's attempt to make the report public was thwarted by Bona and others, many of whom have since been amply rewarded with state jobs and appointments.

Shortly after Rowland's election, James Smith, the Middlebury attorney who argued the town's case to keep the report secret, was appointed state claims commissioner, a $70,000-a-year post.

Smith's Middlebury law firm contributed $2,789 to Rowland's bid for governor in 1994. Carmody & Torrance, the Waterbury-based law firm of Jim Robertson, Rowland's personal attorney in the Middlebury police case, has received a hefty chunk of state work from the quasi-public Connecticut Development Agency.

In fact, Rowland has raised political patronage to an art form. Andy Thibault, one-time editor of The Torrington Register-Citizen and Rowland backer who wrote editorials favoring candidate Rowland during the 1994 campaign, was appointed to the Freedom of Information Commission after the election.

So too was Frederick E. Hennick, the former publisher of the Naugatuck Daily News. Hennick contributed $300 to Rowland's campaign and subsequently voted against having the FOI Commission appeal the state Superior Court's decision to keep the police report under lock and key.

"He's reinvented patronage," says Edward Marcus, state Democratic Central Committee chairman, whose law firm has been removed from the CDA's list of vendors under the Rowland administration.

"What grates at me is the arrogance of it all. He's beyond the law and beyond the restrictions of most people. He's made the operation of government his private province."

One of the most controversial examples of this political back scratching within state government has been Rowland's use of durational project managers -- temporary posts that are designed to be short-term appointments -- to increase the number of allies he has in state government.

Durational project managers have been used extensively by former governors such as Rowland's predecessor, Lowell P. Weicker Jr. But while Weicker appointed some 40 durational managers, Rowland currently has 144. At least three dozen of them are politically tied to Rowland, the Republican party or a major Republican officeholder in the state.

For example, Mark Brennan, a political backer of Rowland from Waterbury, was a key legislative liaison in the governor's office until late 1995, when he became a $69,500 durational project manager at the Department of Mental Health. Brennan's father, Francis Brennan, has had a similar job with the state military department.

Many of Rowland's political contributors, such as Whit Betts of Bristol, have been given lucrative state jobs at various points during Rowland's term for their support. After giving Rowland $1,000 toward his run for governor, Betts was given a $40,000-a-year job as a liaison between the Department of Agriculture and the community. His mission was to promote the "CT Grown" food program with small businesses and farmers.

Yet another Rowland campaign supporter, Vito Santarsiero, listed in campaign records as a worker for Brunele Construction in Waterbury, was awarded a $37,500 job at the state Department of Environmental Protection. As an executive assistant to DEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Lajoie, Santarsiero was responsible for monitoring the use of the surplus military equipment.

Despite the time limits required for durational project managers, several have served for nearly Rowland's entire term. State auditors last year chided the governor for moving a number of durational project managers from department to department in an effort to "circumvent the requirements of the state personnel act," since the positions do not require civil service tests or any kind of qualifications check. Recently, the Senate passed a bill to change that, limiting the number of durational project managers to one-fourth of one percent of the total number of state employees and mandating that they meet basic employment criteria for the jobs.

While not illegal, Rowland's use of durational project managers sends a disturbing message to those who work their way up through the civil service system: At any time, they may be passed over by, for example, a childhood playmate of the governor's.

Other political favorites of Rowland's have also had their lots bettered by the governor. Kathy Mengacci, a longtime friend of Rowland's, was given a job in his office. Her husband, Joseph Mengacci, another Rowland chum, is an attorney in the Waterbury law firm of Drubner, Hartley, O'Connor and Mengacci, which contributed more than $9,000 to Rowland's 1994 campaign.

In addition, Joseph Mengacci is part of a community board in Waterbury charged with handling $17 million in state money earmarked for downtown redevelopment. Another Rowland supporter and contributor, Ken Pocius, an attorney at Carmody & Torrance and vice chairman of the Greater Waterbury Chamber of Commerce, also sits on the same board.

The firm of KPMG Peat Marwick, another campaign contributor, was hired by the Naugatuck Valley Development Corp. to research various development options for the Brass City.

Other recipients of Rowland's largesse include Gregg P. "Rock" Regan, the governor's boyhood playmate, who as a durational project manager, has been engineering Rowland's proposal to privatize the contract for maintaining the state's computer system, an estimated $1 billion contract. Reagan's background? He was an engineer at Sikorsky Aircraft.

"He [Rowland] is a throwback to the days of Tammany Hall," Marcus says. "This is not a fraternity or a club he's a head of. He's reinvented patronage. Something like this only becomes significant (to the public) with its cumulative effect."

Not so, says Pagani.

"It's not as if the entire state government is stacked with political appointees. There are some, of course, because that's how government works. You need people assisting your top appointees to push your agenda through. Many of the people who are making these accusations are Democrats who are in the Legislature. Before they throw stones at the governor, they should look at their own house."

Questions about Rowland's treatment of his pals and supporters has only grown in recent months. Earlier this year, the Courant reported that the Rowland administration treated a Waterbury chemical manufacturer, MacDermid Inc., with unusual passivity after a 1994 chemical spill killed nearly 12,000 fish in the Naugatuck River. According to the Courant report, MacDermid dumped chemicals in the Naugatuck on Nov. 9, 1994, only hours after Rowland was elected. MacDermid's president, Daniel H. Leever, contributed $2,500 to Rowland's 1994 election campaign. Terrace Copeland, a vice president at MacDermid, contributed $250. MacDermid had a track record as a despoiler of the environment before Rowland came along.

The Courant reported that the company had paid the state $306,000 in penalties in 1993 to settle lawsuits involving hazardous waste and cleanup violations.

Because of its past record, the company could have paid fines up to $25,000 a day if it violated DEP rules again. The Courant's review of other cases involving MacDermid showed un-usually indulgent enforcement by the Rowland administration when compared with other water polluters.

Rejecting his department's own enforcement remedy, DEP Commissioner Sidney J. Holbrook allowed the company to pay a $70,000 fine into a DEP account to benefit the river. Who negotiated the settlement? Carmody & Torrance partner Jim Robertson, Rowland's personal attorney who served him so well in the Middlebury FOI case.

"There was no one in the governor's office directly involved," Pagani says.

"It was something that was happening at the DEP. He [the governor] has tried to institute a policy at the DEP where the commissioner has tried to work with people in terms of violations. The goal is to impose a penality if it is necessary, but also work with the company to correct the problem and make sure it doesn't happen again."

Public records show that other political contributors to Rowland's campaign, such as Fairfield-based wire-maker Jelliff Corp., Uniroyal Chemical Co. of Naugatuck and Connecticut Light & Power, based in Berlin, have been fined by the DEP for violating environmental laws.

Donald S. Strait, executive director of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, points out that the Rowland administration's toleration of MacDermid and other polluters sends a message to other companies that is all right to pollute. Even if they are caught, Strait says, the fines are often negligible. In addition, Strait says, DEP referrals to the Attorney General's office for prosecution dropped 75 percent in the first year of Rowland's administration.

"It is no secret that the current administration has worked to create a user-friendly climate at the DEP," says Strait. "

At the beginning of the current administration...a clear message was sent to companies and DEP staff that the department would emphasize asking polluters to comply with the law. Many polluters probably believe that they stand only a slim chance of substantial penalties for violating our environmental laws."

Rowland has the dubious distinction of being the first governor in Connecticut history to be fined by the State Ethics Commission for accepting free tickets to a number or concerts at the Meadows Music Theatre. The tickets were provided by a lobbyist for the Meadows, Democrat James Sandler. Although the commission says there was no evidence of a quid pro quo for the tickets, the violations are significant.

The governor attended six Meadows concerts in 1995 and 1996 with tickets paid for by other people, including William Dunn, a longtime Rowland friend who works for KPMG Peat Marwick, an accounting firm which has received some of the state's business while Rowland has been in office. The governor's explanation underscores the lack of seriousness the governor attached to the commission's findings and the general principle of ethics.

"I think the average person will say, 'What's the big deal if he went to a concert with some of his friends?'"

Going to a concert with pals is clearly not a big deal. It's the appearance of taking money for political favors and a pattern of self-indulgence that suggest Rowland's ethical barometer is not calibrated to the same standards as everyone else's.

The list of the ethical lapses by Rowland and his administration seems endless. Last year, the Legislature approved a bill that banned the heads of state agencies and their immediate families from entering into business contracts with other agencies. The legislation stemmed from the state Department of Economic Development's decision to award a $292,000 printing contract to a company owned by Arthur H. Diedrick, the owner of Connecticut Magazine, who was then the agency's acting commissioner.

Still, even his political adversaries are loath to criticize him on ethics.

"My main beef with the governor is on policy stuff," says Rep. Michael Lawlor (D-East Haven).

"The ethical things that come up from time to time don't anger me. Generally speaking, he just doesn't appear to take government too seriously."

Even Senate Democratic leaders like George Jepsen of Stamford and Kevin Sullivan of West Hartford bit their tongues when asked about Rowland's character.

It is ironic that Rowland should flaunt public standards of ethics so casually and thoughtlessly.

After all, his own grandfather helped root out municipal corruption many decades ago in the Brass City. Perhaps at 40 years of age, Rowland has achieved too much too soon. And perhaps his immaturity and fraternity-boy attitude towards state government is having more of an impact on Connecticut than voters like to think.

If Trooper D'Angelo's attorney John Williams has his way, Rowland will pay some sort of price for his role in the military surplus scandal.

"For (prosecutor) Mike Dearington to sign off on this says to me that he wants to try this case. There will be no settlement. I guess it's all going to come out at trial," Williams says.

Williams adds that if D'Angelo committed a crime, then those who received the goods, including Rowland, should also be prosecuted for accepting the gifts. Receiving stolen goods, Williams says, is simply against the law. Williams will seek to have the charges against D'Angelo dismissed on the grounds of selective prosecution.

"Those guys knew where this stuff came from. If (D'Angelo)'s guilty, then the others are guilty."

D'Angelo has reportedly drawn up a list of officials who received the surplus gear, names Williams promises will come out in due course. Williams says he plans to call Rowland and Kirschner to the witness stand when D'Angelo's case goes to trial to testify about what they really knew about what D'Angelo was doing.

As always, Rowland's supporters will be there to protect the governor. The first hint came last week from Public Safety Commissioner Kirschner.

"This has nothing to do with his political affiliations and his friendships," Kirschner says.

As for the black eye his department has received over D'Angelo's alleged actions, Kirschner believes "the public confidence will be restored."

Whether the same will be said of Rowland, if the drumbeat of cronyism, petty scandal and ethical obtuseness that has accompanied his term in office continues, is up in the air.

The Hartford Advocate link to the above 1997 piece

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Soft Prison Sentence, Easy Routine, is a cold slap in the face to Americans that have done little wrong and suffered in hellhole prisons


Former Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland is off to Federal Prison Posted by Hello

Rowland's Pa. Prison `Lightly Regimented'
March 30, 2005
By EDMUND H. MAHONY, And JON LENDER Hartford Courant Staff Writers (

The federal prison camp in Loretto, Pa., where John G. Rowland has been told he'll serve his sentence, is not much different from the one at Fort Devens, Mass., where the ex-governor and the judge who sentenced him had hoped he would spend the next 10 months or so.

It's relatively small, with about 140 inmates; it's set among woods and fields, with no fences; inmates are required to work and are offered modest recreational opportunities.

Overall, life at Loretto is "lightly regimented," said Edward S. Bales, chief strategist at Philadelphia-based Federal Prison Consultants Inc.

"As long as you go and do your job function for the day, you can probably go and pretty much do whatever you need to."

The biggest difference probably is the increased distance that family and friends in Connecticut will have to travel to visit, according to prison experts and federal correction officials. Devens, west of Boston, is less than 100 miles from Rowland's home in West Hartford, an easy day trip.

Loretto, east of Pittsburgh, is nearly 400 miles away - a day on the road each way, if visitors decide to drive rather than fly.

A week ago the judge who sentenced Rowland, Senior U.S District Judge Peter C. Dorsey, recommended that Rowland serve his term at Devens. Dorsey said he had even called to make sure there was room at the Massachusetts facility.

During an unrelated hearing Tuesday, Dorsey grumbled that the federal Bureau of Prisons had apparently rejected his recommendation and said the decision to imprison Rowland in western Pennsylvania didn't make sense.

But Karla Wilson, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Prisons, said the bureau has its own classification system to determine where inmates are sent.

"We look at several factors. We get the pre-sentence report from the probation office and we look at things like the severity of the offense, the length of the sentence, social and criminal history, any history of violence or escapes. All these things factor in," Wilson said.

"Outside of that, we try to consider any judicial recommendations that we may get. Overall, our policy is to house offenders within a 500-mile radius of their release residence."

Rowland is under orders to report to Loretto by noon Friday and he will have to adapt quickly to the routine of prison life, Wilson said. He will wear prison khaki and - unless working on a prison job that requires protective footwear - basic white athletic shoes, such as those sold in the camp commissary. All federal camp inmates are required to work unless they are medically unable, Wilson said. Pay is 12 cents to 40 cents an hour, and can be spent at the prison commissary.

"The primary purpose of the jobs is the labor needs of the institution," Wilson said.

"Jobs include ... food service work, plumbing, orderlies who clean the units, painting, groundskeeping, things of that nature."

Bales, the prison consultant, said Rowland "probably will be assigned to a very good job" - perhaps something indoors, such as an instructor in a program for inmates with less extensive educational backgrounds.

Loretto, like other prisons, offers self-improvement programs such as basic high-school equivalency courses, English as a second language and continuing adult education courses.At Loretto, Rowland will share a large, barracks-like, cinder block building with male prisoners convicted of nonviolent crimes - mostly drug offenders, but a significant number of white-collar criminals, Bales said.Prisoners at Loretto sleep in bunks and share central bathroom and shower facilities, an officer at Loretto said Tuesday.

The camp cafeteria, where inmates get three hot meals a day, is in a separate building that also houses camp administrative offices, Bales said. Prisoners are not allowed stoves or hot plates, but Bales said a microwave oven is available.

Visitors are permitted on most days of the week. Only those on a prison-approved list compiled by an inmate's family are eligible to visit.

When they are not working, inmates are allowed to move freely about the unfenced grounds, although they must show up at their bunks for several head counts each day.

Recreational programs are offered "to keep offenders constructively occupied and enhance their physical and emotional well-being," Wilson said.

There is no tennis or golf, but Wilson said Loretto has an outdoor walking track and basketball hoops. Recreation also includes board games, cards and perhaps some crafts to keep inmates occupied during their non-working hours.

There is at least one TV lounge in the barracks area where prisoners can stay up all night if they want to, said Bales, whose company helps inmates find programs for alternative incarceration including halfway houses.

Bales said that Rowland, like any inmate, will do well if he "minds his own business and does his time like everyone else. The people who fight their time - it makes it very long for them. ...

They have infractions, they don't listen to what they are told to do by the corrections staff.

"But Bales said convicted politicians generally do well because of their interpersonal skills.

"Being political is very good," he said. "You get into less problems."

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Steven G. Erickson aka Vikingas Favorite Links and Contact Info

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Reading in between the lines

John Ford: Memphis' Great Embarrassment

Tenneesee Congressman Harold Ford Jr. wants to run for Sen. Frist's seat in two years and thinks that his biggest problem is "overcoming the image about his party", probably because Tennessee is trending Republican.

Strangely enough, he doesn't think the stink of his uncle, state senator John Ford, is going to be a problem. Which is strange, because there's a lot of stink. People in Memphis/Shelby County put up with it because the Fords are the Boss Tweeds of the area and have been for years, in spite of Memphis mayor Herenton's designs on taking over.

But Uncle John is pushing the limits of credibility.

John Ford is the author of legislation that keeps child support payments lower when the father is financially responsible for other children. It has the effect of allowing unscrupulous males to keep procreating without deleterious repercussions in the take-home pay department.

This brings up a question of ethics as John Ford has six children with three women, all of whom collect child support from him.

During a recent child support case, John Ford attempted to invoke this legislation by testifying that he was already paying nearly all the bills for the five other children and two women that he lives with -- some days at one woman's house and other days at the other woman's. (It didn't work -- he was ordered to quadruple the payments he makes for that child, retroactive to 2002.)

Neither of the two residences that John Ford said he lived at (under oath) is in his district. The address that he has listed as a residence in the past is actually his business.

Republicans want an investigation.

The state attorney general has declined to investigate this seemingly open and shut case, probably because the rules on residency are unclear with conflicting attorney general opinions.

On the other hand, the senate ethics committee is preparing to take a look.

The child support case has landed John Ford in even more hot water: income tax returns filed as part of the case reveal that he received $237,000 over two years from a consultant with a children's dental care provider.

Managed Care Services Group, a Pennsylvania-based company that lists Ford as a general partner and paid him $237,000 over two years, was hired by Doral Dental USA as a consultant and lobbyist.

At the same time, Doral has a $5.3 million contract to process dental benefits for TennCare children and some adult enrollees with medically necessary dental needs, TennCare spokeswoman Marilyn Elam said.

Even though he is on the TennCare Oversight Committee, John Ford never reported his connection with the firm by filing a conflct-of-interest statement -- a direct violation of state law.

A Nashville TV station has been digging into John Ford's use of campaign funds and has found that he used campaign money to pay family members and throw a wedding.

Payments include $11,000 to girlfriend Snell, $18,400 to girlfriend Matthews for "professional services", $2,450 to ex-wife Ford, $3,000 to two adult daughters, $400 to ex-girlfriend Smith and well over $10K for his daughter's wedding.

The Registry of Election Finance, in addition to the senate ethics committee, is preparing to investigate.

In yet another major conflict of interest, John Ford has proposed five new pieces of legislation to regulate the funeral industry (the Ford fortune was made through the Ford Funeral Home that is still operated by the family in south Memphis). Critics say that the laws are designed to stifle competition in the industry.

John Ford isn't exactly behaving with the same class as his nephew Harold. This was John's response when a Memphis news organization tried to question him about his residency:

He told us not to, "bring him any ****.

" When we asked him about possible conflicts of interest between his lawmaking efforts and his child support case, he responded, "What's the conflict? Making a *** living?"

Speaking of classless behavior, John Ford evidently subscribes to the theory that the best defense is a good offense. Unfortunately John seems to be a little short in the "good offense" department and is resorting to wild accusations.

When the NAACP came to town to discuss increasing the number of minority children to benefit from lottery scholarships, John Ford told them that he is being attacked by the "white media" and asked them to stand up for him.

The NAACP has wisely indicated that they do not plan on issuing any statements in support of John Ford.

The above found (here)

Monday, March 28, 2005

Will it and IT WILL BE

Former Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland is off to Federal Prison Posted by Hello

Daydreaming and having a plan helped me through my stint in prison for having written things in newspapers that pissed off Connecticut cops and officials, for proposing legislation to elected officials that police and the courts follow laws and treat all equally, for threatening to sue Connecticut State Police for violating my civil rights, and as one inmate put it, “You’re in prison for being an asshole, not for committing any crimes.”

I had a plan of action as soon as my feet touched pavement outside of prison, or scrap that, I started being a royal pain in prison, writing, and seeking justice.

I dreamed of being out and writing Governor Rowland a mocking letter, while he sits disgraced in a Federal Prison. At the time I was in prison, Governor John G. Rowland was the Republican golden boy, looked at as a real possibility of the Republican that would succeed Bush after Bush 2’s reign.

I wrote a mocking letters like this (post) to Rowland. I was in contact with his office from 1998 complaining about corruption, Connecticut State Police misconduct, and about how those that invest in a home or downtown business are abused by the state and the common criminal parasites, alcoholics, and drug addicts police use to scam the rest of us, using pitiful humans as revenue collection tools.

I will write a mocking letter to Rowland while he is sitting in prison, asking why or who may have made sure he ended up in prison and how does it feel to be disgraced, away from family, the comforts of home and even the pleasures of being with one’s romantic partner.

I think Rowland has lived a soft life and isn’t quite a man. I think he’ll have to eat his food separately because maybe he isn’t man enough to retain possession of it. Rowland may also fear being retaliated upon by citizens hating lying, cheating, scumbag politicians, and give Rowland the Jeffrey Dahmer way out, doing Connecticut a favor. Rowland might fear walking near anyone in possession of a mop.

If I or any other citizen were to sue Rowland for his misdeeds or flagarant abuse of OUR AMERICA and OUR US CONSTITUTION, hopefully Rowland will be dragged into court in an orange jumpsuit, wrapped in chains, ankles painfully shackled. Why shouldn’t he suffer like any average American coming to court out of prison?

#2 on my shit list, tallied before I was railroaded to prison, is the former Connecticut State Police Commissioner, Arthur L. Spada (post). Maybe I can send him a mocking letter if he is ever investigated and punished for his laundry list of misdeeds and thrown away like a piece of trash to prison.

#3 on my shit list, is Rockville Judge, Jonathan Kaplan (post). I tried to have Kaplan fired for bias, and then he retaliated by taking a bogus criminal case against me, sending me to prison for being a crime and beating victim at my home. I would also like to write Kaplan a letter when he is in prison and when I’m out free. Seeing official criminal pieces of shit, punished, won’t unfuck my life, but can give me a reason to hold my head high and smile.

Rowland, Spada, and Kaplan, may just ask themselves if they could have gotten away with all their illegal shit if it weren’t for one asshole, Patriot American, with a ‘Big Mouth’?

-Steven G. Erickson aka Vikingas (my office and contact info)

Paid Liars, a post on lawyers

America’s Twilight Zone, Part 1

What is prison really like? Part One

Former Gov. John G. Rowland has been designated inmate No. 15623-014.
Where to write Inmate Rowland or any other Federal Inmate in the Country (post)

Sunday, March 27, 2005



FBI admits screwup on classified files
By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN Mar 27, 2005, 04:28

The FBI admitted Saturday it accidentally gave classified documents back to the American translator who pleaded guilty to taking them from the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Ahmed Fathy Mehalba, who was released from jail earlier this month, contacted the FBI's Boston office Tuesday after he realized agents had inadvertently given him the compact disc containing the secret files along with his personal property.

Mehalba had the disc in his possession for only a "matter of hours" before the FBI retrieved it, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Ricciuti.

"Someone in the bureau obviously made a serious mistake," Ricciuti said.

Mehalba's lawyer, Michael Andrews, said the FBI's mistake was "very upsetting" to his client.
The FBI's Boston bureau disclosed its error in a press release Saturday.

FBI spokeswoman Gail Marcinkiewicz said the disc wasn't labeled "secret" - as all classified data should be - because prosecutors had to keep it in the same condition as when it was seized from Mehalba.

Authorities haven't said what type of information was stored on the disk, other than it concerns "national defense," said Ricciuti, who prosecuted Mehalba.

Mehalba, an Egyptian-born U.S. citizen who was working as a civilian Arabic translator at Guantanamo, was arrested at Boston's Logan International Airport on Sept. 29, 2003, after Customs agents found the disc in his possession.

The disc, one of 132 found in his luggage, contained hundreds of documents labeled "SECRET" or "SECRET/NOFORN," meaning no foreign government was allowed to see them. The disc itself wasn't labeled classified.

Last month, Mehalba pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorized possession of classified materials and two counts of lying to federal investigators and was sentenced to 20 months in prison. He was given credit for time already spent in jail and was released on March 10.

Mehalba told the judge he exercised "very poor judgment" in taking the disc from the base but meant no harm.

"There is no allegation he was involved in any kind of espionage," Ricciuti said.

© 2005 The Associated Press

© Copyright 2005 by Capitol Hill Blue

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Federal Prison Locator with Information

Federal Inmates see these every day Posted by Hello


* * * *

I'll probably use this below address to write a letter to the former Connecticut Governor, John G. Rowland:

P.O. BOX 879

AYER, MA 01432

Former Connecticut Governor gets Federal Inmate Number

Rowland Gets Inmate Number, Awaits Prison
March 26, 2005, Associated Press

A week before he is scheduled to report to federal prison, former Gov. John G. Rowland has been designated inmate No. 15623-014.

Rowland, the three-term Republican who pleaded guilty in December to corruption, has been ordered to surrender April 1. A judge recommended Rowland serve his year-and-a-day sentence at the Federal Prison Camp Devens, a minimum security facility on a former Army base about 35 miles west of Boston, but the U.S. Bureau of Prisons will have the final say.

"We haven't received confirmation of either time or location," Rowland's attorney, William F. Dow III, said.Rowland's inmate number designation was posted Friday morning on the U.S. Bureau of Prisons inmate database. It lists him as a 47-year-old white male "in transit" - a designation that simply means he has a reporting date.

The identification numbers are used to track the nearly 200,000 inmates in the federal prison system and the thousands of others who have been released.

Rowland's inmate identification number will stay with him for life.

Rowland pleaded guilty Dec. 23 to a federal conspiracy charge that arose from his receiving $107,000 in gifts and services from businessmen who won hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts and tax breaks from his administration.

He was sentenced March 18 to a year and a day in federal prison, but will be eligible for release after 10 months. After his sentence, he must serve four months of house arrest.

Prison officials try to place inmates within 500 miles of their homes, but that's contingent on finding available beds. Martha Stewart, for instance, requested the prison camp in Danbury but was assigned to West Virginia.

Like nearly every prison facility, Devens is at or near capacity.

Prison spokesman John Colautti said Friday that the camp could accept a few more inmates, though the population changes daily.

The above came from the Hartford Courant website.

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Friday, March 25, 2005

Your Rights, Your Animals

CA Ear Crop Bill Developments

Ci at 6 months, a top Skansen Californian in New England Posted by Hello

[Wednesday, March 16, 2005]

AKC has learned that a veterinarians' extremist animal rights group recently mailed action alerts to veterinarians across California pressuring them to support AB418, Asm. Paul Koretz's bill to ban ear cropping. The inflammatory postcards contain several statements designed to mislead the veterinary community.

It is critical that California veterinarians, as well as legislators, hear from a responsible, reasonable resource on AB418 and other animal legislation in the state. Fanciers are therefore strongly encouraged to contact their own veterinarians and urge them not to support this bill.

Veterinarians should be concerned about allowing the government and public opinion too much control over their practices. Once legislators determine they can ban certain elective procedures, they may be just a short step away from removing veterinarians' and owners' rights to make informed decisions about animal care and treatment.

Concerned fanciers are also urged to contact their own state representatives and ask them to oppose AB418. To find out who represents you in the California legislature, click here:

Your voice is especially important if your representative sits on the Assembly Committee on Public Safety, where AB418 has been referred. Membership is listed below.

Keep in mind that legislators need to hear from their constituents! Please share this alert with your fellow dog owners and ask them to get involved. AKC will post updates as soon as they become available. An alert will also be mailed to all affiliated dog clubs in California.

Assembly Committee on Public Safety

Asm. Mark Leno (D) [Chair]Phone:916/319-2013, FAX:916/319-2113,

Asm. Jay La Suer (R) [Vice Chair]Phone:916/319-2077, FAX:916/319-2177,

Asm. Rebecca Cohn (D)Phone:916/319-2024, FAX:916/319-2124,

Asm. Mervyn Dymally (D)Phone:916/319-2052, FAX:916/319-2152,

Asm. Jackie Goldberg (D)Phone:916/319-2045, FAX:916/319-2145,

Asm. Ira Ruskin (D)Phone:916/319-2021, FAX:916/319-2121,

Asm. Tod Spitzer (R)Phone:916/319-2071, FAX:916/319-2171,


Sex, lies, Connecticut, and the exploits of the Rich headed for Divorce


Adultery, Acrimony And Millions In Spoils
March 25, 2005
By KENNETH R. GOSSELIN, Hartford Courant Staff Writer

In one of Fairfield's wealthiest enclaves, the bitter divorce of a business executive has ended with his jet-setting wife walking away with nearly $50 million in cash, homes, cars, jewelry and artwork.

The 25-year marriage ended with Howard Sosin, a one-time insurance executive, branding his wife, Susan, an adulteress. Susan Sosin said she suffered the loneliness of a golf widow.

In a 74-page divorce decree filed this week in Superior Court in Bridgeport, the slow, painful disintegration of the Sosins' marriage in their $16.2 million mansion on tony Sasco Hill Road is revealed in lurid detail:

How Howard Sosin insisted on celebrating Thanksgiving on a Saturday so he could play golf on the holiday. How Susan Sosin pursued a yearlong affair with a married man she met when he helped her with her luggage in an airport in China.

And how Howard Sosin finally discovered the secret e-mails Susan Sosin exchanged with her lover.In the decree, Judge Howard T. Owens said the discovery of those e-mails was the death knell to the marriage.

"The parties' marriage has been undeniably marred by [Susan Sosin's] infidelity," Owens wrote in the decree.

"Although her sexual relationship was not the sole cause of the breakdown, it did effectively terminate the marriage."

Howard Sosin's "preoccupation with his career also led to the erosion and subsequent drifting apart, although to a much lesser extent. [Susan Sosin] is primarily responsible for the breakdown of the marriage.

"Owens' decree also gives a rare glimpse into how one wealthy family on the Gold Coast lived a lavish lifestyle, but where money wasn't a substitute for happiness. The ruling details everything the couple owned, from artwork worth millions right down to an "I Love Mommy" mug.

The Sosins and their three children lived in a Sasco Hill mansion decorated with paintings and sculpture worth millions and furnished with rare furniture - some pieces worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. The pair of George III parcel-gilt side tables alone were valued at $100,000.

They owned art worth nearly $30 million. The Sosins had as many as 14 servants, some of them living in a second, $5 million home the couple owned on the same street. They owned 18 cars.

Golf club memberships were worth nearly $1 million.They had five homes, including a ski house in Utah. There also was an apartment in New York City.And there were lavish gifts of jewelry.

For their 16th anniversary, Howard Sosin gave his wife a 25-carat diamond ring.But those trappings were a long way from 1978 when the couple met. Then, Howard Sosin was an assistant professor at Columbia University. Susan Sosin was married to her first husband and working in retail. The Sosins married in 1980 after Susan Sosin divorced her husband. They had little money.

Howard Sosin later worked on Wall Street. In 1987, he formed AIG Financial Products, serving as its president and chief operating officer.Six years later, Howard Sosin sold his interest in the joint venture. And together with the resolution of an employment dispute with AIG, Howard Sosin was paid $115 million. Meanwhile, the Sosins had three children: Clifford, Tyler and Clarissa.

In addition to work, Howard Sosin became involved in funding research - and eventually set up his own company - to find a cure for peanut allergies, from which his daughter suffered.He also established a company to create inventions related to his passion for golf.

According to the decree, it was those outside activities that increasingly kept the couple apart. Susan Sosin began developing her own interests, mainly rock climbing, skiing and dance. By the mid-1990s, the couple's separate lives sparked conflict.

Susan Sosin said her husband planned family outings around his golf schedule. Howard Sosin complained the family often ate dinner while Susan Sosin was off skiing.

In 2000, Susan Sosin met David Brooks on a trip to China. When she returned to Connecticut, she began communicating by e-mail and telephone calls that in one instance included phone sex.

She set up a separate e-mail account to correspond with Brooks, who lived in Redmond, Wash.

That Christmas, Susan Sosin and Brooks engaged in sex on a ski trip to Utah, the decree states.They continued to regularly exchange e-mails, cellphone calls and cards - often discussing Susan Sosin's troubled marriage - until the relationship ended in late 2001. In early 2003, the Sosins hired a consultant to upgrade their computer systems. It was through the consultant that Howard Sosin learned unexpectedly his wife had a separate e-mail account.

"It took [Howard Sosin] days to read through all the e-mails, discovering his wife had been unfaithful," the decree said. He discovered 637 pages of e-mails, plus a diary.

In early March, Howard Sosin filed for divorce.Susan Sosin learned of the filing while in Asia. She returned home and deleted the e-mails, but she did not know until the deposition for the divorce trial that Howard Sosin had copied them.

The division of property allows Susan Sosin to maintain an upscale lifestyle. In addition to a $24 million payment in cash, Susan Sosin gets the Manhattan apartment, the ski house and a home about 90 miles north of New York City. They are valued at $6.5 million. She must, however, move out of the Sasco Hill estate in 90 days.

Susan Sosin will walk away with eight cars, including the 2002 Lexus. But Howard Sosin gets the 2001 BMW. Howard Sosin will hold onto $2.4 million in furnishings, while Susan Sosin gets $160,925. Howard Sosin also gets $22.2 million in artwork, compared with Susan Sosin's $3.5 million.

Then, there are hundreds of household items that aren't appraised.

For instance, Howard Sosin gets to pick the first art book from the collection in the hall and library. Then, the Sosins make alternating selections.

An attorney for Susan Sosin praised the judge's division of assets, saying it was more generous than what Howard Sosin had first offered for a settlement. But it was regrettable that the divorce had to go to a trial, said Frederic J. Siegel, Susan Sosin's attorney.

"It's an unfortunate situation," Siegel said, "when people's private lives have to be displayed in a public forum."

The above came from the Hartford Courant website.

Fair use of copyrighted material

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[click here] for:

Tauck V. Tauck: No End In Sight

Nancy Tauck

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* * * *

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?

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)
[Link too old to use]

This blogger's email:

* * * *

Added December 29, 2008:

If you have $20,000,000 should your divorce cost $20,000,000? [scroll down for link in post]

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[click here] for newest Stark Raving Viking blog posts

[click here] for Steven G. Erickson OpEd News posts

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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

A Questionable Police Force regarding Ethics Investigating Ehtics

The UCONN Scam Posted by Hello The University of Connecticut opened the new Hilltop Apartments in 2001. (PATRICK RAYCRAFT) Mar. 25, 2005
-->Copyright 2005,
Hartford Courant


Troop C, Tolland, Connecticut State Police overseas one of the
heaviest ticketed stretches of section of roads in the nation. It’s not about
the law it’s about the dollar and retribution against those who dare complain.

That particular force deserves the
label, ‘Armed Revenue Collectors’ not police or law enforcement, as I know they
do as little of that as possible.

Someone didn’t make their bribe payment or pissed off someone full
of themselves for this latest Grand Standing to take place. How, now, over some
investigation, the Connecticut State Police can paint themselves as Lilly White
in a sea of sleaze they have been swimming in for centuries, I just can’t
imagine, but people in Connecticut have a history of being either gullible until
is too late, or part of the SleazeFest.

Probe's Focus: UConn Deals Officials Consider Building Problems, Contract Missteps
March 25, 2005

By GRACE E. MERRITT And DAVE ALTIMARI, Hartford Courant Staff Writers

STORRS -- State police have launched an investigation into how the University of Connecticut has awarded up to $1 billion worth of building projects and whether some of its contractors "cut corners" during construction, leading to safety and fire code violations.

Many of the projects under review are part of UConn 2000, the legislatively approved building program that virtually gave the university carte blanche to choose contractors and manage projects with no state oversight.

But now there are questions about whom the university chose to do some of those projects, how they were carried out and whether anyone was watching what contractors were doing.

Specifically, state police are investigating whether contractors knowingly violated fire and building codes. More than 100 violations were discovered recently in three new dormitory complexes.

"We are looking into whether it was done purposefully, whether someone knowingly made that decision or was it just a mistake," said John Blaschik, deputy state fire marshal.

Sources said that part of the investigation centers on whether contractors charged the university full price for certain materials and then installed less costly materials that don't meet code standards.

Blaschik said the investigation was spurred by safety-code violations found at the dormitory complexes and has been going for at least two weeks. A detective assigned to the fire, building and emergency services division of the Department of Public Safety has been reviewing documents and interviewing university employees.

Sources said the investigation is about to be expanded, with detectives being assigned to help interview contractors, subcontractors and current and former university officials and employees.

Asked about the investigation, UConn spokeswoman Karen Grava said: "To the degree that there is any information-gathering occurring, the university is fully cooperating.

"UConn has come under increased scrutiny after The Courant reported that the dormitory safety violations will cost the university at least $15 million to correct.

The complexes are among more than 70 construction projects worth more than $1 million each that the university has completed through the authority of UConn 2000.

UConn 2000, approved by the legislature in 1995, gives the university nearly unprecedented authority to manage $1 billion in construction projects at Storrs and satellite campuses. In 2002, the legislature extended the program by 10 years, adding $1.3 billion for construction.

In addition to the safety violations and the state police investigation, a report by state auditors released last month is highly critical of how the university has awarded the contracts.

The auditors claim that UConn has designed a system that has all but eliminated competitive, open bidding for contracts.

The process has raised eyebrows among in-state construction companies that have seen companies from Alabama, Colorado and Illinois walk off with a large share of the UConn 2000 money.

The auditors found:

No evidence as to why or how construction companies were chosen for

A lack of clearly established budgets to which the university adhered.

A lack of a centralized and standardized record-keeping system.

That UConn selected contractors before the project design details were

Auditors also questioned whether university officials skirted state statutes when they hired an Alabama company to build Husky Village, dormitories that house primarily fraternities and sororities, at a cost of $12 million.

The auditors claimed that the Husky Village project was not on the original list of construction projects to be funded using UConn 2000 money. The UConn 2000 statute specifically requires the university to go back to the legislature and the board of trustees to add any projects to the original list.

University officials denied the allegation in their response to the auditors' report, claiming Husky Village was just an extension of an already approved project, the renovation of the Towers dormitory complex.

But the auditors pointed out that Husky Village is several hundred yards from the Towers and is a cluster of new buildings, not renovations to existing ones.In its response, UConn disagreed with the auditor's criticism of the bidding process. UConn said it selects contractors by first pre-qualifying them and then running a competitive selection process.

The process, UConn said, increases the probability of a successful, on-time and on-budget project.

Grava pointed out that UConn just won a national award for the method it uses to hire architects and engineers to design new buildings and renovations.

State Auditor Kevin P. Johnston said that when legislators originally approved UConn 2000 in 1995, they wanted to give university officials flexibility when it came to building on campus, rather than have all the projects fall under the control of the state Department of Public Works.

"You can't give them this kind of flexibility and not expect problems," Johnston said.

"We don't think anybody has been watching what they've been doing out there."

The problems at the Hilltop apartments were first discovered last summer when carbon monoxide released from water heaters started to build up in a couple of apartments.

UConn says it plans to take legal action to recover the cost of the corrective work from the contractor, Capstone Development of Birmingham, Ala.

Jimmy Goodson, the head of Capstone's northeast office, said Capstone disputes the cost estimate and the extent of the problems.

Capstone has been negotiating with UConn to try to reach a "meeting of the minds," he said.

Goodson was surprised to hear about the police investigation.

"I really have not heard anything and we have not been contacted," he said.

In addition to the water heater problem, engineering consultants hired by UConn also found damaged roofs, inadequate venting systems and fire code violations at the three dormitory complexes.

For the most part, UConn has relied on its construction management company, Bechtel/Fusco, as well as the architect and contractors to certify that the buildings were properly designed and built to meet codes.

The buildings were inspected by UConn project managers and a code compliance employee. Buildings over four stories tall, however, were subject to inspection by the state building inspector.

Legislators, reacting to news of the safety violations, are now considering a bill that would require all newly constructed state-owned residential buildings with a minimum occupancy of 25 to be inspected by the state.

State Building Inspector Chris Laux declined to comment on the state police investigation. However, he said UConn failed to notify his office of a couple of projects under his jurisdiction.

Grava declined to comment on Laux's allegations.

Laux said his office is now helping the university try to address some of the problems.

UConn, meanwhile, last month announced that it would create an independent office with two building inspectors and three fire officials to inspect all new campus construction.

A discussion of this story with Courant Staff Writer Dave Altimari is scheduled to be shown on New England Cable News each hour today between 9 a.m. and noon.

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

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

A Parody of What America has Become

(this) post says it all.

This blogger's email:

The Good Old Days?

On this day in 1983:

President Ronald Reagan says his only purpose is to avert nuclear war

Ronald Reagan Posted by Hello

1983: Reagan launches Cold War into spacePresident Reagan has unveiled plans to combat nuclear war in space. The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) proposes a defensive shield, using laser or particle beam technology to "intercept and destroy" incoming missiles as they travel through the stars.

More from the BBC

Some interesting Blogs that I’ve run across:

Do citizens of the USA have to flee for Free Speech and Freedom?

Banned in America Blog

the US Marijuana Party Blog

Judicial Activism’s Perfect Storm

Boston Crone's Haven Blog

There is no justice, if justice can be sold

This Blogger's email:

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Insensitive and outright rude police

Trooper Suspended 15 Days Response To 911 Call Called Inappropriate
March 22, 2005By TRACY GORDON FOX, Hartford Courant Staff Writer

A state trooper was suspended for 15 days without pay Monday for telling the friend of a seriously injured motorcyclist "too bad," and hanging up on him when he called 911 for help last August.

State police said Trooper Robert Peasley's behavior did not affect the response time to the accident or contribute to the death of Justin Sawyer, 21, of Bozrah. Sawyer died of head injuries several days after the crash in Bozrah.

"The investigation revealed inappropriate and unprofessional language," said Sgt. J. Paul Vance, a state police spokesman. "

The investigation revealed that despite the comments, state police and emergency service arrived promptly.

"But state police Commissioner Leonard C. Boyle said residents expect more from the state police when they call for help."

When someone reports a serious incident on a 911 call, the person receiving that call has an obligation to receive information, convey information back to that person and do so in a respectful manner," Boyle said Monday.

Sawyer's family hired a lawyer, complained to state police, and requested the tape of the incident after learning what the trooper had said to Sawyer's friend.

No lawsuit has been filed. Sawyer's family could not be reached for comment Monday.

Peasley, who was working the dispatch desk in the Troop E barracks in Montville, was punished after an internal affairs investigation for several offenses, including conduct unbecoming a police officer, inefficient action and lack of decorum, police said.

The trooper hung up on the caller because he apparently thought he had received several other calls about the same incident. But Boyle said the investigation showed that the call from the friend was the first Troop E received for that accident. It also showed that Peasley was rude to a second caller who reported the accident, telling him Sawyer "shouldn't have been riding that way."

Union officials said they will fight to reduce the punishment, especially considering that Peasley, an 18-year veteran, has a good record and had not previously been in trouble.

"It's a tragedy. But the discipline imposed is extremely harsh and not warranted," union President David LeBlanc said Monday.

LeBlanc said Peasley and the one civilian dispatcher on duty on the evening of Aug. 17 were swamped with calls from another accident and several other incidents. LeBlanc said the incident illustrates the stress on dispatchers and troopers who man the desks at the busiest barracks.

"It's out of control, and the agency has refused to staff it appropriately," LeBlanc said.

Boyle said the department is looking into ways to better handle 911 calls.

"In this instance, the investigation established the trooper had the opportunity and should have taken and provided more information," Boyle said.

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

Monday, March 21, 2005

The asshole skates ...

Rowland Sentenced: One Year Reduced From Hubris, He Confronts His Fear

March 19, 2005
Hartford Courant Staff Writers

NEW HAVEN -- John G. Rowland, the brash ex-governor once thought to have a limitless political future, was sentenced to a year and a day in prison Friday after admitting, in an emotional plea for leniency, that he took illegal gifts out of pride, arrogance and a distorted sense of entitlement.

"I'm ashamed to be here today, and I accept full responsibility for my actions," Rowland said, dabbing at tears as he addressed Senior U.S District Judge Peter C. Dorsey.

"I have embarrassed myself, my family and the many people who have placed their faith in me over the past 25 years. ... Whatever good works I have accomplished will be overshadowed by the events that have led me here today, and I bear total responsibility for that."

"I lost sight of my ethical judgment," Rowland said.

"Over time, a sense of entitlement and even arrogance developed along with my time in office. I let my pride get in the way."

Dorsey's sentence was considerably less than the 15-to-21 month sentencing range negotiated in Rowland's plea bargain agreement. He pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge that arose from his receiving $107,000 in gifts and services from businessmen who won hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts and tax breaks from his administration.

The day Dorsey tacked onto the year in Rowland's sentence will actually get him out of prison faster because of "good time" available to inmates serving more than a year. Under federal prison calculations, Rowland will be eligible for release after serving 85 percent of the sentence, about 10½ months.

After he gets out, Rowland will have to serve three years of supervised release, including four months of home confinement, and perform 300 hours of community service. In addition, he was ordered to pay $35,000 in taxes he owes on the illegal gifts he received, $72,000 to reimburse the state for the gifts he accepted and a $10,000 fine. Dorsey ordered Rowland to make the $72,000 and $10,000 payments within six months.

The sentence, imposed by a judge with a reputation for leniency toward white-collar criminals, seemed to buoy Rowland's lawyer, William F. Dow III.

"I have no intention of appealing the sentence," an upbeat Dow said afterward.

"I and my client are grateful that we appeared before a judge who has the experience, sensitivity and wisdom to take an objective perspective."

But federal prosecutors were disappointed. On Thursday, the U.S. attorney's office had urged Dorsey to put Rowland in prison for up to 37 months, saying that the office had learned that Rowland had tried to conceal a $416,000 personal retirement account from federal officials.

By portraying his financial condition as increasingly dire, prosecutors said, Rowland was trying to generate leniency from the court.

At a minimum, federal prosecutors had hoped Dorsey would deliver a strong warning to politicians by returning a sentence based on the 15-to-21 month guideline range negotiated when Rowland pleaded guilty on Dec. 23.

"In terms of the sentence that was imposed by Judge [Dorsey] today the U.S. attorney's office would indicate that we are disappointed that the court didn't impose a guideline sentence as we believe it should have," Deputy U.S. Attorney John Durham said Friday.

"At the same time I would indicate that we are very pleased that a corrupt public official, somebody who violated the trust of the people of Connecticut, is going to prison."

Michael Wolf, who heads the state FBI division, said Rowland's imprisonment shows "our collective resolve to rid the system of those individuals who line their pockets at the public's expense."

Rowland, 47, pleaded guilty to the corruption charge in December, admitting that he accepted chartered trips to Las Vegas, Vermont vacations and repairs to his lakeside cottage. The corruption probe and a legislative impeachment investigation prompted Rowland to resign in July, ending one of the most storied political careers in Connecticut history.

At one point during his remarks to Dorsey, Dow said his client is at the bottom of the longest fall there is in Connecticut politics - from onetime Republican wunderkind to disgraced political crook on the way to the penitentiary.

Standing, pale-faced and wearing a dark suit, in the center of a packed old courtroom on the city green, Rowland himself seemed lost. There was no sign of the cock-sure, wisecracking politician who was elected governor three times. Even as FBI and IRS agents closed in on his office a year ago, Rowland still oozed invincibility, brushing back reporters with barbed insults.

But Friday, pride was replaced by fear. The afternoon had the trappings of a public execution and Rowland knew he was the star. Outside the courthouse, good government advocates practiced street theater, guarded by horse officers. Inside, stone-faced federal investigators glared and friends and relations twitched nervously.

Rowland's voice broke. He struggled to read from notes. He pleaded, abjectly at times, for leniency. He was not making a speech, he said, but trying to explain "how I feel today."

He said many people, no doubt, would judge his words as "insincere and calculated" no matter how hard he tried to convince them otherwise.

"This has been a long and painful and humiliating process," Rowland said, his voice thick with emotion.

"I have lost my career, the respect of others and to a great extent my own self-respect, and as painful as this has been for me, it has been worse for my family."

"I want my family to know, I want my friends to know, I want the people of the state to know I am sorry and I ask for their forgiveness."

When Dow spoke, it was to minimize Rowland's behavior and argue for leniency. Dow repeated arguments he has made many times before. He said Rowland was not corrupt, but guilty of bad judgment and a worse management style. He said Rowland delegated authority to assistants who corrupted his office.

The ex-governor, Dow said, was guilty only of taking gifts he shouldn't have and trying to hide them.

Dow's portrayal of Rowland's relationship with former staff members and a state contractor also accused of corruption seemed to animate Assistant U.S. Attorney Nora Dannehy.

"It was not a fuzzy relationship," Dannehy said.

"It was a corrupt relationship. This case is not about a lack of management style. ... This is about arrogance. It is about greed."

She implored Dorsey to slap Rowland with a lengthy prison sentence. To do otherwise, she said, would send a message to all other government employees that corruption is not condemned, but only frowned upon in Connecticut. She said Rowland should be treated like a common criminal, someone without his advantages of "charm, eloquence, magnetism and public relations savvy."

She said if he does not receive enough jail time, "the message being sent is there's two sets of rules."

Responding to what she called efforts by Dow to "minimize" Rowland's crime, Dannehy said Rowland has

"corrupted the office of governor, the same as if he had taken a bag of cash in a dark alley.

He is corrupt."

She said Dow's portrayal of Rowland was inconsistent: The good things that came from his administration were the result of the governor's hands-on efforts, the bad things a product of a management style that led him to delegate to subordinates.

"You can't have it both ways, Your Honor, you just can't," she said."If ...John Rowland, is not held accountable, then the people's trust simply isn't that important," Dannehy told Dorsey.

"Honest government matters, it has to matter. Send that message, send it loud and clear."

Dorsey appeared to have decided on Rowland's sentence even before the hearing began. Early in the proceeding, he said he was rejecting prosecution claims that the sentence should be above 30 months. And as the proceeding dragged out, there were increasingly frequent indications that the sentence would be shorter yet. At one point, Dorsey ruminated on the misfortune Rowland's five children would experience without their father's earning power to provide for their educations.

At times, Dorsey lectured Rowland:

"He was not elected to receive gratuities," Dorsey said.

"He was entrusted with the authority of the governorship to promote and serve the best interests of all citizens of the state. ... His conduct betrayed that trust."

But in the end, he imposed a sentence significantly shorter than what the law permitted.

Pressed by Dannehy to explain why, Dorsey said his sentence was influenced by Rowland's record of public service and "by the situation as far as the children were concerned."

After a moment's thought, Dorsey clarified his answer, saying public service was the primary driver of the sentence.

Rowland hugged his wife, then his daughters, both young women. All the women were in tears.

His wife whispered, "It will be all right."

When Rowland reports to a federal prison April 1, he will become one of more than a dozen former governors to serve prison time and only the second in New England.

The first was former Rhode Island Gov. Edward D. DiPrete, who was sentenced to a year in prison in 1998 for bribery, extortion and racketeering.

Rowland is likely to serve his sentence in a recently opened facility on a decommissioned military base in Ayer, Mass., about 40 miles west of Boston and 20 miles north of Worcester.

The base houses male prisoners who require specialized or long-term medical or mental health care. The facility also has a satellite camp for minimum-security male inmates.

After the sentencing hearing was adjourned, the court's chief probation officer, Maria Rodrigues McBride, passed by a knot of federal law enforcement personnel, including Dannehy, who had strenuously criticized the sympathetic probation report that McBride wrote and Dorsey relied significantly upon.

She reached out her hand to Dannehy, smiled, and said a few words, including "truce?"

Dannehy seemed to force a smile, but shook hands.

Asked afterward about the controversy over her report on Rowland, McBride said, "It's OK. [If] we disagree, we disagree."

Blogger's Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials, Notice

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Sunday, March 20, 2005

ethics, shmethics ...

"We conclude this report with some modest recommendations : ...Open up the process by allowing debate and votes on more serious Amendments… ...Allow more bills to be considered under open rules ( rules are important because each bill submitted to the floor of the House must have a rule assigned by the committee which limits the amount of debate and more importantly specifies what amendments can or cannot be allowed in the course of the debate ) ... ..."Bring back regular order and reduce the number of late-night or early morning “emergencies”... ..."Give Members three days to read conference reports”...

What you’ve just read is taken from “Broken Promises(pdf) : The Death of Deliberative Democracy”, a report compiled by The House Rules Committee Minority Office ( authored by Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, Ranking Democrat on the Rules Committee ) . I encourage you to read the report in it’s entirety, it will shock you, particulary if you’re not a regular C-SPAN viewer. What is going on within our government seems to get worse the more you read . Apparently, even former Speaker Newt Gingrich is concerned about how the House is currently “run”, suggesting that House Repulicans “should open the rules more”. (more)

Saturday, March 19, 2005

History's Cartoons

Abraham Lincoln Posted by Hello

View more from Harper's

MAJOR SCAMMER gets light prison sentence

It is simply outrageous that (former Connecticut Governor) Rowland didn’t get decades in prison, not a lame one year.

If Rowland’s sentence doesn’t raise red flags, about there being more corruption, rampant in Connecticut, I don’t know what will wake people up to the facts.

More information

Ted Kennedy’s driving discussed, a Kennedy cousin, and links to a Governor, a blowjob, and the outcome of police investigations FOR SALE

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What is modern America?


The Fix is in

If you own a diner, you may have to spend five to twelve thousand for a grease recovery system for your sink and dishwasher.

Own a small independent gas station and you have to now pay $300,000 for special tanks and vapor recovery system.

It is getting harder and harder to find a neighborhood bar, family owned restaurant or Mom and Pop shop.

The easy death of the family farmer was the writing on the wall.

Own an independent car repair business and get fee’d, fined, and harassed out of business. Drive a car with a repair plate, and you may have to have a tax stamp on the vehicle, what???!!!

A gas station owner giving away free coffee faced $5000 (maybe $15,000 when all was said and done) in fines, interest, and other penalties. (post)

Own a bar, and if you don’t have a friend in town hall, you may end up divorced, arrested, in prison, then penniless. A bar owner didn’t know whom to bribe at the liquor commission, ended up a felon in prison. (post)

Own a package store and teens are enlisted by police to try to buy cigarettes and booze to collect thousands in fines. Teens buying alcohol or the common criminal parasites hanging outside buying booze for kids aren’t punished. (a post on ‘informants’)

Buy rental property, and not have a friend in town hall, maybe you’ll find yourself harassed, threatened, divorced, arrested, in prison, then penniless.

Teens babysitting that aren’t part of a corporate daycare, are also under siege.

I see police officers drive right by teens drinking openly, meeting cars to sell heroin and crack cocaine. Propose a budget cut for police or propose Civilian Oversight of Police to elected officials and you may wake to find two cruisers, two angry officers near your driveway to promptly issue you threats, harassment, telling you to leave town “or else”, and you’ll have a tail in your review mirror for days, weeks, months, or even years. (post)

The criminal and drug dealers aren’t the target, certain business and property owners, are, for their cash and assets.

Putting my friend’s Sausage Sandwich food concession trailer out on a front lawn, for sale, drew a health inspector with his fine pad out, in about 5 minutes from the time I set up that tag sale, which is lucky I had the proper permit and paperwork for. I wasn’t selling food without the permits.

Get an extra toll ticket or come up short with coins on a toll road and you might find yourself in hot water, real quick.

America was built on independent people willing to do for themselves, their families, and their communities.

That, now, is too often considered a criminal offense.

Shame on the pathetic sheep in America that sold our sole and our freedoms.

-Steven G. Erickson aka Vikingas

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Friday, March 18, 2005

Taking Bribes to determine the outcome of an investigation


"Connecticut DCF Watch" Add to Address Book
Sun, 13 Mar 2005 08:24:12 -0500

[connecticutcivilrightscouncil] Blumenthal, Child Advoacate Investigate Accusations of Bribe-Taking by DCF Supervisor

Probe's Focus: DCF Supervisor Blumenthal, Child Advocate Investigate Accusations Of Bribe-Taking

March 12, 2005
By KEN BYRON, Courant Staff Writer

MANCHESTER -- Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is investigating whistle-blower allegations that a supervisor in the state Department of Children and Families office in town took bribes in return for dropping complaints of child abuse and neglect.

Blumenthal said Friday that after receiving complaints from state auditors several months ago, his staff began investigating.

The complainant was not identified, nor was the accused supervisor. Blumenthal and other officials also would not say if the person they are investigating still works in the Manchester office. Information on how long that person has worked for DCF or how long he or she has been assigned to the Manchester office was also not available.

Gary Kleeblatt, a DCF spokesman, said the state's child advocate, Jeanne Milstein, forwarded similar accusations to the agency a year ago. But he said the information was too vague to investigate and did not give a specific case in which a bribe was paid.

Milstein said on Friday that her office is doing its own investigation of the allegations but that it is too early to say what the result of that work would be.

"I alerted DCF because I wanted them to do their own investigation in case any children were at risk," Milstein said.

DCF reviewed a number of cases that the supervisor was involved in, Kleeblatt said, but that investigation turned up no evidence of wrongdoing. Blumenthal's office has not notified DCF of the investigation but the department will cooperate when asked, he said.

Kleeblatt said the person being investigated is a mid-level supervisor and that it would be difficult for someone in that position to close a case on his or her own. Such a decision would have to be approved by a higher-ranking supervisor, he said.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Rowland Prosecution Asks For Three Years


John G. Rowland, 1985 Posted by Hello

Republican Rep. John G. Rowland gives a press conference on May 10, 1985, during his first term in Congress, at the state Capitol on the subject of defense contractor and corporate fraud.(COURANT FILE PHOTO)Copyright 2005, Hartford Courant

6:21 PM EST,March 17, 2005, Associated Press

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Federal prosecutors today urged a judge to send former Gov. John G. Rowland to prison for more than 2 1/2 years, saying he misled his probation officers as part of a yearslong pattern to deceive Connecticut residents and state officials.

The request, filed as part of the government's pre-sentencing recommendation, said Rowland tried to hide a retirement account worth more than $416,000.

In his own recommendations Thursday, Rowland asked for leniency and blamed his subordinates for the corruption.

Rowland, 47, who resigned July 1 amid a gathering drive for impeachment, is to be sentenced Friday on a corruption charge. He admitted trading political access for more than $100,000 in chartered trips to Las Vegas, Vermont vacations and repairs to his lakeside cottage.

Rowland faced between 15 and 21 months in prison as part of a plea deal, but prosecutors said the judge should sentence him to between 30 and 37 months. Using his own words against him, they said Rowland should be harshly punished for violating the public's trust.

"When that trust is violated, the damage becomes in some ways permanent because it is immediately part of our popular culture and part of the public's perception," prosecutors wrote, quoting from a speech Rowland gave in 2000.

"The public needs to know that offenders are punished under our system of government."

Rowland's attorney, William F. Dow III, denied that Rowland tried to hide the retirement account, saying it was already a well-known part of the public record. Defendants are required to disclose their assets before sentencing.

In his own request to the judge, Rowland asked for less than 15 months in prison, citing his years of public service. He blamed his administration's corruption on his co-chief of staff, Peter Ellef, and state contractor William Tomasso, who are under federal indictment.

"Ellef, allowed to operate without a monitor, took advantage of his position to tilt the process and assure that his friend, Tomasso, would obtain lucrative state projects," Dow wrote.

Those statements rankled Ellef's attorney. Ellef has refused to cooperate with prosecutors.

"Real standup guy, isn't he?" attorney Hugh Keefe said.

"He sounds like a cornered drug kingpin trying to squirm out of a rat trap by blaming one of his mules. The, 'I know nothing, I was just the governor,' line doesn't fly."

U.S. District Judge Peter C. Dorsey, considered one of the more sympathetic judges in the district, has wide discretion on how to sentence Rowland. Rowland will address the judge Friday but nobody will speak on his behalf, Dow said.

"The government will attempt to paint John Rowland as a Svengali who is responsible for everything from the Stamp Act to Dutch elm disease and the Chicago fire," Dow wrote.

It's unusual for federal prosecutors to change their sentencing recommendations once a plea deal is reached. But they said Rowland was hiding his assets to persuade the judge that he is broke and should be awarded leniency.

"The defendant's continued disregard for the law and rules which other citizens are expected to follow underscores his arrogance, his continued sense of entitlement and his lack of sincere remorse for the conduct that put him in the position he is in today," prosecutors wrote.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell, Rowland's former Lt. Gov and running mate, said Thursday she believes Rowland deserves some prison time.

"I think any time there is a breach of public trust, clearly to the allegations and the things he has pleaded guilty to, certainly jail time is appropriate," Rell said.

If Rowland is sentenced to prison, he probably will not be taken into custody Friday. More likely, he will be given a date to report to a minimum-security prison. The two closest are in Otisville, N.Y., and Fort Dix, N.J.

"Above all else, the one thing he prized the most, his reputation, has been indelibly tarnished," Dow wrote.

"He was once a rising star in state and national politics. He has lost that."

The above came from the Hartford Courant website.

Fair use of copyrighted material

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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:

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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

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