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John Grosvenor Rowland (born May 24, 1957) is an American politician, author, and convicted felon who served as the 86th Governor of Connecticut from 1995 to 2004. A Republican, he served two nonconsecutive prison terms on various corruption charges.[1] Rowland previously served in the United States House of Representatives from 1985 to 1991, representing the state's 5th district. In 2004, Rowland resigned from office during a corruption investigation, and later pleaded guilty in federal court to a one-count indictment for conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, mail fraud and tax fraud.[2][3] He was the first Connecticut governor to be elected to three terms since 1784.

John Rowland
CT Governor John Rowland.jpg
86th Governor of Connecticut
In office
January 4, 1995 – July 1, 2004
LieutenantJodi Rell
Preceded byLowell Weicker
Succeeded byJodi Rell
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 5th district
In office
January 3, 1985 – January 3, 1991
Preceded byWilliam R. Ratchford
Succeeded byGary Franks
Member of the Connecticut House of Representatives
from the 73rd district
In office
Preceded byNatalie Rapoport
Succeeded byJoan Hartley
Personal details
John Grosvenor Rowland

(1957-05-24) May 24, 1957 (age 62)
Waterbury, Connecticut, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Deborah Rowland (Divorced)
Patty Rowland
EducationVillanova University (BS)

He served ten months in a federal prison until February 10, 2006, followed by four months' house arrest at his home in West Hartford, Connecticut, until June 2006. His lieutenant governor, M. Jodi Rell, replaced him as governor.

On April 10, 2014, Rowland was indicted on seven counts for his role in an election fraud case where former congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley, current Vice Chair of the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts and her husband, Brian Foley, pleaded guilty in federal court on March 31, 2014 to illegally paying Rowland $35,000 in campaign consulting fees.[4] He was charged with two counts of falsifying records in a federal investigation, one count of conspiracy, two counts of causing false statements to be made to the FEC, and two counts of causing illegal campaign contributions.[5] He was convicted on all seven counts in September 2014,[6] and was subsequently sentenced to 30 months in prison on March 18, 2015.[7]

He is married to Patty Rowland, his second wife, and the couple has five children between them.


Early political careerEdit

John G. Rowland 1989 congressional photo

Rowland's political career began in 1980 when, at age 23, he was elected to the Connecticut State House of Representatives. He held his seat until 1984, when he was elected to represent Connecticut's 5th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives and was reelected in 1986 and 1988.

Consulting careerEdit

After losing the 1990 gubernatorial race to Lowell P. Weicker Jr., Rowland worked as a consultant for United Technologies Corp. In his final year of consulting Rowland earned nearly $400,000.[8]

Tenure as GovernorEdit

Governor John Rowland (CT) signing Proclaimation making September Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Rowland was later elected governor in 1994 at age 37 (the youngest governor in Connecticut history) and later defeated two Democratic opponents: former US Congresswoman Barbara Bailey Kennelly (63%–35%) in 1998 and former State Comptroller Bill Curry (56%–44%) in 2002.

The Adriaen's Landing project, the most ambitious capital city development project in decades in the state, continued to progress during Rowland's time in office. On Rowland’s watch the state paid $37 million to TBI Construction to relocate Connecticut Natural Gas headquarters to East Hartford to make room for the development, TBI would later be at the center of the scandal that brought the Governor down.[9] College campuses were moved, which brought thousands downtown in Hartford, Stamford, Bridgeport and Waterbury. New London's waterfront was thriving as of 2004, with a new global research facility and rebuilt pier. Theaters and museums in all major cities were revitalized, from the Palace Theater in Waterbury to the New Britain's Museum of American Art.[citation needed]

In 1997 Rowland was the subject of the Geargate political scandal.[10] Surplus military equipment intended for the Connecticut State Police was diverted by Rowland and close associates for their personal use. Equipment and apparel including sleeping bags, camouflage jackets, helmets, and a bayonet made their way into the hands of Rowland’s children, his staff, his security detail, and the husband of then Lt. Gov. Jodi Rell. The diversion was organized by corrupt State Trooper Eugene D’Angelo and was uncovered through a joint State Police and Department of Defense investigation.[11]

In 1998, Rowland implemented the HUSKY Plan (Healthcare for UninSured Kids and Youth) to provide health insurance to uninsured Connecticut children. During his tenure, the budget for the Department of Children and Families more than doubled. Rowland supported addition to government of the state's first Child Advocate.[12]

Rowland was a strong proponent of a tough stance against violent crime as governor. The prison population grew rapidly during his term, which caused the state to send inmates to prisons in Virginia to deal with overcrowding. Legislative opponents of this policy such as Representative Michael Lawlor urged more rapid release of nonviolent offenders.[13] After Rowland left office the Virginia inmates were returned to Connecticut and more criminals were paroled.[14] This approach was criticized after the 2007 Cheshire home invasion murders committed by two "nonviolent" inmates paroled from Connecticut prison.[15]

In 2002 Lawrence Alibozek, former deputy chief of staff to the Governor, pleaded guilty to steering State contracts to the Tomasso Group, a contractor heavily involved with Rowland and his campaigns.[16] The Tomasso Group’s relationship with Rowland included more than $500,000 in legal campaign contributuins as well as hosting the Governor’s birthday at their Tunxis Country Club.[17]

In 2003 Governor Rowland dismissed 2,800 state workers thus violating their union contracts. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City ruled in 2013 that the former Republican governor's administration had violated the workers right to freedom of association. Many workers were eventually rehired or otherwise partially compensated. "They lost benefits, they lost pension, they lost health insurance," creating "real interference" with people's lives, said Union Attorney David Golub.[18]

Before investigation into his conduct as governor started, Rowland was viewed as a rising star in the Republican Party, and was mentioned as a future presidential or vice-presidential candidate.[19]

Rowland resigned abruptly as Governor, July 1, 2004 as he faced impeachment and investigation for corruption. Lieutenant Governor M. Jodi Rell served out the remainder of his term. Rowland is the first Connecticut governor to have ever faced impeachment and he is the only Connecticut governor to have served prison time.

Corruption as GovernorEdit


In the first year of Rowland's third term (2003), rumors began circulating that contractors doing business with the state, primarily the Tomasso Group,[20] paid for and made improvements to his private weekend home. He also benefited improperly from the sale of a condominium in Washington, D.C. at an inflated price, took bribes from subordinates in state government and took partial ownership in businesses immediately before they were granted state contracts. These eventually led to federal investigations and then indictments of some of Rowland's close aides, who then cooperated with federal investigators. Rowland publicly denied the allegations.

However, in December 2003, Rowland abruptly appeared on television and admitted that work had been done by contractors on his vacation home at no charge, and that his earlier statements to the contrary were untrue. He claimed that, since the work was done, he had paid the contractors in full; but in January 2004 an official investigation began into charges of corruption and whether he should face impeachment.

On June 18, the Connecticut Supreme Court required Rowland to appear before the investigative panel seeking his testimony, which could have resulted in him giving evidence against impeachment in the ongoing criminal investigation. On June 21, Rowland resigned, effective noon on July 1, 2004.

Patty Rowland’s poemEdit

Matters were exacerbated when the First Lady of Connecticut, Patty Rowland, wrote a satirical poem deriding the media for investigating her husband's wrongdoing.[21] The poem, a parody of the classic A Visit From St. Nicholas, was read by the First Lady at the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce on Dec. 17, 2003. The poem was published in its entirety in the New York Times the following day.[22]

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except me, the first spouse.

I was waiting for Santa, that jolly old elf, to give him the list I had drawn up myself.

For I had hung all the garland and tinseled the trees and festooned the house for the public to see.

I'd sent all the cards to our friends far and near, and thanked all our staff for their hard work this year.

I'd shopped and I wrapped all my gifts full of love for our five picky teens, the black Lab and the guv.

I kept quiet and calm through December's dark storm, protecting my family from those who wish harm.

So now it was my turn to get Santa's ear, to tell him what I wanted for Christmas this year.

When out on my yard there arose such a hubbub, I thought maybe [Hartford Courant reporter] Jon Lender had jumped in the hot tub.

Now surely that man needs to go soak his head, but there on the lawn stood Santa instead.

Come in, dear Santa, and rest for a while. I've got cookies and milk, I said with a smile.

I am late, said Santa. My last stop took hours, all that coal I delivered down The Courant's tall towers.

They used to be good girls and boys, Santa said. But the poison pen's power has gone to their head.

And I have the same problem at the media stations; they've just simply forgotten good human relations.

Their thirst and hunger for the day's biggest story has earned them black coal for their ill-gotten glory.

Oh Santa, I said, that is sad, I agree. They've acted like Grinches who have stolen our tree.

They whipped themselves into a mad feeding frenzy. They've embarrassed our children and our Mama McKenzie.

But this is the season of joy, peace and love, and forgiveness which comes from our Lord above.

A time for compassion to give what we can, to lift up the spirits of our dear fellow man.

Ho, ho, ho, went Santa. I say that's the gist. Now why don't you tell me what is there on your list.

Dear Santa, this year bring warmth to those cold, and safety each day to the young and the old.

Bring our soldiers home safely without any hitches, and give evildoers a kick in the britches.

Help the lonely find love, and the lost find their faith, take the drugs off our streets so our children can play.

Give our teenagers wisdom and courage and health. Show them family and friends are the best kind of wealth.

And last, but not least, for the man next to me, a new year that is peaceful and refreshingly free of rumors and hearsay that do nothing but smother the positive works we should do for each other.

This man who has given you many years of his life, who has stood tall and strong throughout good times and strife.

He has championed our cities, our schools, and our arts. He's made sure our children are ready and smart.

He doesn't get bullied by big union bosses who picket and whine and dwell on their losses.

He's the man with the plan for the good of our state and he won't let the press twist and turn our state's fate.

So please, Mr. Santa, won't you grant me this plea, and tackle this list that I have drawn up for me?

Santa stood up and gave me his hand. That's quite a tall order, but I'll do what I can. I'll spread Christmas cheer to each city and town, to each man, woman and child, and I won't let you down.

He jumped in his sleigh, and then flew out of sight. He said, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.'


On December 23, 2004, Rowland pleaded guilty to depriving the public of honest service. Rowland was sentenced on March 18, 2005, in New Haven, Connecticut, to one year and one day in prison, four months' house arrest, three years' probation and community service. On April 1, 2005, he entered Federal Correctional Institution, Loretto, in Pennsylvania. His federal inmate number was 15623-014.[23]

Post release after first incarcerationEdit

On February 10, 2006, Rowland was released from federal prison with the stipulation that he serve four months' house arrest with an electronic ankle bracelet monitor.

On July 1, 2006, Rowland spoke to an association of scholar athletes in Kingston, Rhode Island, about the lessons he learned. A "sense of entitlement" and the "arrogance of power" were two of the biggest things that ended his political career, The Hartford Courant quoted him as saying.[24]

He warned that the arrogance is very easy when you're put on a pedestal, and you "start to believe your own press releases. ... It [becomes] all about me. You start to block out what else is around you."[24]

The Courant quoted Rowland as saying that "when you start to find yourself only concerned with yourself" that's the point when you need to find a "grounding force." That should be faith, ideally, he said, or at least "something within yourself"—not just other people.[24]

"I found in my career that a lot of people will tell you how great you are—especially when you're the boss. But there will be that time when that career will be over ... and then it's down to the three F's—faith, family and friends – real faith, real family and real friends."[24]

Rowland, now a resident of West Hartford, told the audience his future is still uncertain. He owes the Internal Revenue Service more than $35,000 and another $40,000 in fines. He said he's a volunteer counselor and hoping to find a publisher for a book he wrote called Falling Into Grace.[25]

In September 2006, local TV station WTNH, reported that Patty Rowland had purchased a house in Middlebury, Connecticut, and the Rowland family would be moving to that town.[26]

Rowland discussed his life after politics in a Washington Post article published June 17, 2007. Rowland discussed his work on the lecture circuit and the factors leading to his political demise. He also expressed disappointment that his successor, Governor M. Jodi Rell had "thrown him under the bus" and distanced herself from him after taking office.[27] Rell declined to criticize Rowland over these remarks.[28]

In January 2008 Waterbury Republican Mayor Michael Jarjura announced that he would hire Rowland as an economic development advisor for the city.[29] Rowland began work in February and received an annual salary of $95,000 as the city's economic development coordinator.[30] Rowland's stint as Waterbury's economic development coordinator ended in 2012.[31]

Life after politicsEdit

Radio showEdit

From 2010 until 2014, Rowland hosted the afternoon show on Hartford's WTIC (1080).[32]

On April 1, 2014, Connecticut governor Dannel P. Malloy called on WTIC to remove Rowland from the air due to Rowland's implication in a corruption scandal involving former Congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley. Malloy stated: "The reality is that we now know enough—two people have pled guilty to this charge and have identified the party they were engaged with ... unless there's going to be a denial and in light of two actual pleas, both identifying who the third party was, I think any reasonable outlet would remove him at this point […] He had the interesting position of trying to impact and influence political discourse on an afternoon radio show. That somebody would violate that trust as well, is disturbing." [33] Rowland has often criticized Malloy since the latter took office in 2011. On one occasion, Rowland labeled Malloy a "pathological liar," although he later apologized to Malloy.[34]

On April 3, 2014, Rowland announced that he was leaving as WTIC's afternoon talk-show host "to take care of some personal issues," he said just before 6 p.m, at the end of his regular three-hour time slot.[35]

Further investigationsEdit

Investigations by then-Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and by a state legislative committee concerning several separate possible improprieties by him and associates, ensued after Rowland's resignation:

  • Work he took between his resignation and imprisonment, as a consultant (and possibly an unregistered lobbyist), would clearly have been illegal if the state's revolving-door law explicitly included the governor as it does other state employees. On August 29, 2005, Rowland's attorney Bartley Halloran reported that Chief State's Attorney Christopher Morano would seek a state arrest warrant against Rowland.[36] The prosecutor's request was subsequently denied.
  • Three nonprofit organizations closely associated with large contributors to his campaigns for public office are also mentioned by investigators:

In addition, Peter N. Ellef, Chief of staff to John G. Rowland while governor pleaded guilty to tax fraud and bribery and was sentenced to 30 months in prison. (2006)[37]

Campaign fee scandal convictionEdit

On March 31, 2014, husband and wife Brian and Lisa Wilson-Foley, the Vice Chair of the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts Board of Trustees, pleaded guilty in federal court to corruption charges for illegally paying and afterwards hiding campaign consulting fees to the former governor, who is widely considered the main target for the federal probers. In 2012, Wilson-Foley ran for Congress in Connecticut 5th district. Rowland secretly served as a consultant to her campaign.[38]

On September 8, Lisa Wilson-Foley's husband, Brian Foley, told the jury that his wife had signed a fictional contract with Rowland to create the impression that Rowland was working for a group of nursing homes Foley owned. Instead, Rowland was providing political advice. Despite the statement, Rowland's lawyers insisted that the client was a campaign volunteer and that he was paid for giving Foley advice on his healthcare business, not for being a political consultant.[39] Shortly thereafter on September 16, first defense witness Bedard testified in accord with this line of defense. Bedard claims directly countered prosecutor's charges whereby he states that Rowland: ""The healthcare and nursing home industry was changing and Brian hired him as a consultant to help us move forward," Bedard testified: "The healthcare and nursing home industry was changing and Brian [Foley] hired him [Rowland] as a consultant to help us move forward. ... He knew the politics and practical ways to speed along Medicaid payments that were often delayed by between nine months to a year."[40]

On September 19, 2014 Rowland was convicted on federal charges that he conspired to hide payment for his work on two congressional campaigns. He was convicted in New Haven federal court of all seven counts, including conspiracy, falsifying records in a federal investigation, causing false statements to be made to the Federal Election Commission and causing illegal campaign contributions. On March 18, 2015 Rowland was sentenced to prison for 30 months by U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton.[41] Judge Arterton also fined Rowland $35,000 and ordered him to serve three years of supervision by the federal probation office upon his release.[41] Rowland turned down the opportunity to speak and is planning on appealing the sentence. His conviction was upheld by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City on June 17, 2016. Rowland served less than the full 30 month term and was released from federal custody on May 26, 2018.[42]

Electoral historyEdit

Connecticut Gubernatorial Election 1990
Party Candidate Votes % ±
A Connecticut Party Lowell P. Weicker 460,576 40.36
Republican John Rowland 427,840 37.49
Democratic Bruce Morrison 236,641 20.74
Connecticut Gubernatorial Election 1994
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican John Rowland 415,201 36.20
Democratic Bill Curry 375,133 32.70
A Connecticut Party Eunice Strong Groark 216,585 18.88
Independent Tom Scott 130,128 11.34
Connecticut Gubernatorial Election 1998
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican John Rowland (incumbent) 628,707 62.90
Democratic Barbara Kennelly 354,187 35.44
Connecticut Gubernatorial Election 2002
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican John Rowland (incumbent) 573,958 56.11
Democratic Bill Curry 448,984 43.89


  1. ^ "Judge Sends Rowland, Ex-Connecticut Governor, Back to Prison". Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  2. ^ Honest Services Mail Fraud defined and discussed at Accessed March 17, 2008.
  3. ^ US Dept of Justice Press Release[dead link]
  4. ^ Feds Want Prison For Lisa Wilson-Foley In Rowland Case/ Archived March 23, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Ex-Connecticut Gov. John Rowland Indicted In Alleged Campaign Scheme
  6. ^
  7. ^ Mahony, Edmund (March 18, 2015). "Ex-Governor John Rowland Sentenced To 30 Months In Prison". Hartford Courant. Retrieved April 25, 2015.
  8. ^ Murray, John. "A Peek Behind The Scenes With Governor John Rowland". The Waterbury Observer. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  9. ^ "FBI probe focuses on CNG relocation in Adriaen's Landing project". News 12. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  10. ^ Leigh Cowan, Alison. "Political Memo; The Antagonist Who Barraged Rowland With Criticism". The New York Times. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  11. ^ Lender, Jon. "SURPLUS GEAR WENT TO ROWLAND'S CHILDREN, STAFF". Hartford Courant. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  12. ^ of Connecticut Archive of Governor's Bio
  13. ^ News Item Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, New Haven Register.
  14. ^ Public Safety Performance Archived November 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine produced by the Pew Center on the States.
  15. ^ Parole Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine at
  16. ^ Altimari, Dave. "Rowland's Troubles Began Two Years Ago With Subpoena Delivered To His Office About State Contract With Tomasso". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  17. ^ Christoffersen, John. "Bill Tomasso's fortunes soared with Rowland's". The Register Citizen. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  18. ^ [1] | April 28, 2015 | Settlement reached in 2003 Connecticut layoff lawsuit | SUSAN HAIGH Associated Press | [2]
  19. ^ G. Rowland News: Topical Coverage, New York Times
  20. ^ Mehren, Elizabeth. "Hot Seat Is Getting Hotter for Governor". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  21. ^ Edition, Print. "A tale of a hot-tub". The Economist. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  22. ^ First Lady Patty Rowland's poem at The New York Times.
  23. ^ [3]
  24. ^ a b c d Rowland Recounts Lessons Learned Hartford Courant, by Valerie Finholm, Courant staff writer July 2, 2006.
  25. ^ Former Conn. governor makes his first speech after prison by Ray Henry, Associated Press Writer, July 1, 2006, accessed from Web site of the Boston Globe on July 2, 2006.
  26. ^ Rowland now a homeowner in Middlebury at
  27. ^ A Look Back, And Up: An Ex-Gov. and Ex-Con Reflects on Three Terms In Office and One in Jail, June 16, 2007, Washington Post.
  28. ^ Rell on Rowland and the Budget Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, June 18, 2007.
  29. ^ Rowland Job Archived January 25, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ For Rowland, Second Chance of a Lifetime, by Woody Hochschwender, The New York Times, February 24, 2008.
  31. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. Retrieved April 4, 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  32. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 9, 2012. Retrieved September 9, 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^ WFSB News Story[permanent dead link]
  37. ^, April 26, 2006, "Connecticut Official and State Contractor Are Each Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison" by Allison Leigh Cowan [4]
  38. ^ John-rowland-lisa-wilson-foley-nursing-home-chain/2
  39. ^ Weinzel, Richard. "Ex-Connecticut Governor Rowland cut phony consulting deal: witness". Reuters. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
  40. ^ Weizel, Richard. "Connecticut ex-governor opens defense in campaign law trial". Retrieved September 15, 2014.
  41. ^ a b [5]
  42. ^

External linksEdit

Connecticut House of Representatives
Preceded by
Natalie Rapoport
Member of the Connecticut House of Representatives
from the 73rd district

Succeeded by
Joan Hartley
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
William R. Ratchford
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
Gary Franks
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Chris Perkins
Baby of the House
Succeeded by
Susan Molinari
Party political offices
Preceded by
Julie Belaga
Republican nominee for Governor of Connecticut
1990, 1994, 1998, 2002
Succeeded by
Jodi Rell
Preceded by
Tom Ridge
Chair of the Republican Governors Association
Succeeded by
Bill Owens
Political offices
Preceded by
Lowell P. Weicker
Governor of Connecticut
Succeeded by
Jodi Rell