Sunday, September 04, 2005

More that doesn't pass the smell test in Korruptikut


Rowland Wins A Legal Round Judge Declines To Sign Warrant On Ethics Charge
September 3, 2005
By EDMUND H. MAHONY, AND JON LENDER Hartford Courant Staff Writers

A state judge has refused to sign a warrant for the arrest of former Gov. John G. Rowland on charges that Rowland violated ethics law when he went to work for a major state contractor after being forced from office, the state's top prosecutor said Friday.

Chief State's Attorney Christopher L. Morano had sought to charge Rowland with violating Connecticut's "revolving door" ethics prohibition as a result of Rowland's paid representation of the Klewin Building Co. at a time when Klewin was involved in a contract dispute with the state.

It is believed that Rowland would have been the first public official charged with a criminal violation of state ethics laws had the warrant been signed.

After resigning the governor's office effective July 1, 2004, Rowland obtained two lucrative consulting jobs, including a $5,000-a-month arrangement with Klewin. Since March, Morano has been examining whether Rowland's approach last November to a University of Connecticut official - an attempt to resolve a disagreement concerning a university building project - violated ethics law.

That law bans a former state official from approaching his old office on behalf of a private company for a year after he leaves office. Rowland, a Republican, met with University of Connecticut Vice President Lorraine Aronson and left her a binder of information on the contract dispute less than six months after he left office during a legislative impeachment inquiry.

Aronson is a former Rowland budget adviser.

Morano's office opened the investigation at the request of state Rep. Christopher Caruso, D-Bridgeport, co-chairman of the legislative government administration and elections committee, which then was investigating Rowland's post-gubernatorial employment.

"After a thorough investigation of the facts of the case and review of the applicable law, the Office of the Chief State's Attorney submitted an application for an arrest warrant to a judge of the Superior Court," Morano said in a statement released Friday afternoon.

"The judge has declined to issue the arrest warrant."

Morano would not name the judge, but others said it was Superior Court Judge Edward J. Mullarkey, a Democrat originally nominated to the bench in 1987 by then-Gov. William A. O'Neill. He did not return calls Friday.

"The judge's decision indicates that based on his interpretation of the law, the facts presented do not establish a violation of the statutes in their present form. We appreciate the time and attention devoted to this matter by the judge and we respect the decision of an independent judiciary," Morano's statement said.

Rowland's attorneys have maintained that his work for Klewin was not improper.

"We're very pleased with the judge's decision," said John F. Droney Jr., one of three lawyers on Rowland's defense team.

"Obviously the Rowland family is relieved beyond words that this nightmare is over."

Droney said Rowland's defense team believes Mullarkey agreed with its contention that Morano's interpretation of the revolving door statute was overly broad. Droney said that under ethics laws, Rowland was barred for a year from approaching his old agency - the governor's office - not the entire executive branch, which includes the University of Connecticut.

Asked for his thoughts on Morano's decision to seek Rowland's arrest, Droney declined, saying, "When you hit a walk-off home run, you go back to the dugout."

In his statement, Morano said his attempt to charge Rowland marked the first time a state prosecutor has sought the arrest of a public figure on an ethics charge.

Morano said that, in view of Mullarkey's rejection of the warrant, lawmakers may have to revise the ethics laws if they wish to criminalize conduct such as Rowland's.

"The facts of this matter are well established," Morano said.

"If the General Assembly wishes to make it clear that the law does in fact apply to such conduct, it has the sole authority to undertake a review of the statutes and to make any revisions it deems necessary or appropriate."

Violations of state ethics laws are generally handled via administrative sanctions, but the statutes contain a provision saying that intentional violations can be considered crimes. Such a violation can rise from a misdemeanor to a felony if the violator gains $1,000 or more from it, the law says. The maximum penalty for a felony violation of ethics laws is five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Rowland pleaded guilty on Dec. 23 to a single 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.

Federal prosecutors first raised the issue of Rowland's post-gubernatorial employment when he was sentenced to a year and a day in prison in federal court on March 18. The prosecutors made Rowland's work for Klewin a central element of their argument that he should be given a longer prison sentence, saying it was proof of the former governor's continuing disregard for ethics laws. But while the prosecutors said Rowland's apparent lobbying showed his "arrogance, his continued sense of entitlement and his lack of sincere remorse," they stopped short of calling it a clear violation of state ethics laws.

"Based on the current state of the law and the limited available facts regarding the Klewin contract, the Government is unable to determine whether the defendant `represented' Klewin before `his agency' or whether he `lobbied' in violation of the law," the prosecutors wrote in a legal memorandum filed at the time of Rowland's sentencing.

"However, the evidence does establish that Rowland again chose a path of willful blindness. He consciously avoided seeking an advisory opinion and chose to act in his own self-interest."

Rowland asked the State Ethics Commission for a legal opinion on his work for Klewin a month after he agreed to consult for the Norwich construction company. The commission issued an informal opinion saying that there were a number of restrictions, including one that prevented him being paid to represent clients before his former agency for a year. But the informal opinion noted that there was some uncertainty as to what constituted Rowland's "former agency."

An ethics commission attorney offered to research the question and draft an advisory opinion but Rowland replied specifically that he did not want one.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell on Friday avoided the subject of the propriety of her predecessor's post-gubernatorial employment.

"That was a decision made by a judge," Rell told reporters at the state Capitol.

"I am not familiar with the exact language of the [revolving-door] law, so I would leave it to the discretion of the legislature."

One of Rowland's harshest political critics, former Democratic State Chairman George Jepsen, agreed with the outcome.

"I am the last person to go easy on John Rowland, and I think he should have been sentenced far longer than he was," Jepsen said.

"But, had this not been John Rowland, I do not think there would have been an application for an arrest warrant."

"Even if you assume all of the allegations to be true, it's the kind of violation that ought to be treated as a civil ethics violation, not dealt with under the criminal code," Jepsen said.

"I think a more judicious exercise of [Morano's] discretion would have been to view it as an ethics violation."

Jepsen said he did not believe a request from a legislative co-chairman - in this case, Caruso - was sufficient cause for Morano to seek the warrant.

"No. ... A prosecutor should exercise his own discretion. This shouldn't be about public pressure."

Courant Staff Writer Christopher Keating contributed to this story.

The above came from the Hartford Courant website.

Fair use of copyrighted material

* * * *

The story of Connecticut State's Chief Attorney's buddy leaving a party at Morano's house to be caught by police for drunk driving, in possesion of marijuana, and a handgun.

The Chief State's Attorney and prosecutors involved in an 'innocence project'?
having a program called the 'frame the whistleblower project' would be more believable involving that crew

A Post involving Chris Kennedy, Chief State's Attorney Morano, Former Rowland and current Rell aid Carol Amino, myself, and State Senator Coleman

Cops dressing 'spiffy' and judges on an 'ethics pannel'?

Hartford Connecticut Police Misconduct, court smoke and mirrors, and did W. Hartford Attorney Brewer know to much or get in the way?

Why was only former Police Commissioner Arthur L. Spada's Chief of Staff, Senick, the only one punished when freebie and perks are an across the board right of passage for all officers in Connecticut for years and years?

A Governor, an ex-model, a man wearing 'chaps', a blowjob, a Connecticut State Police outcome for sale, and a judge forced to retire that wanted ethics withing the Connecticut State Police and Connecticut courts

Getting Involved in the Legislative Process and/or Complaining about Officials
can be detrimental to your quality of life, credit, retirement, your family, and in extreme cases may cost you your life, even in America.

Telling the Town Selectman/Police Chief to go 'F' himself- PRICELESS


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