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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Disgraced governor grilled by Danbury resident; paid for speech

As readers of this blog know, I have no sympathy for former governor John Rowland. Simply put, he ripped the state off and brought shame to Connecticut when all he had to do was resign when the exposure of his shameful acts became public. I still believe that Rowland should still be in prison for his crimes (how he is out while Ernest Newton is serving five years I'll never understand) and since he's a free man, I think people should rip into him whenever he makes an appearance.

Thankfully, a person from my city feels the same way.
In his first major speech since leaving prison, former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland lectured students Saturday on a topic he knows well: the corrupting nature of power.

Rowland's speech before several hundred teenagers at the World Scholar-Athlete Games fell on the second anniversary of his resignation from office. He served 10 months at a federal prison camp before his release in February.


At times, Rowland's speech Saturday seemed like a muted campaign rally, though Rowland said his political days are done. He opened by surveying the young audience for Connecticut residents, drew cheers by plugging the state university's basketball team, then shook hands and signed autographs afterward.

Not everyone was enthralled.

"How could you sleep at night knowing that my tax dollars were going to things my tax dollars weren't supposed to go for?" Suzanne Najman, 37, of Danbury, Conn, asked during a question and answer period.

Rowland gave a meandering response and Najman asked the question again.

"I didn't sleep well at all," he finally said.
Should I care about how well Rowland slept when he ripped us all off? And by the way, why is Rowland getting paid for speeches?
Daniel Doyle Jr., the executive director of the World Scholar-Athlete Games, met Rowland in a gym before he went to jail and paid the former governor for his speech. Neither Doyle nor Rowland would say how much.

Both Doyle and Rowland live in West Hartford.

The speaking fee rankled some of Rowland's longtime critics in Connecticut. Rep. Mike Lawlor, D-East Haven, said he questioned what sort of message Doyle gave the students by paying Rowland.

"Lesson number one is,'Do all these bad things, and people like me will give you money'," Lawlor said in a telephone interview. "He is paying money to a guy who basically cost the taxpayers of the state of Connecticut tens of millions of dollars through his own public corruption."
Good grief! So now he's getting paid for speaking in public? What a slap in the face to all the taxpayers of Connecticut.