Gov. Rell Wants New Rules on Consulting Agreements in CT

Wed April 06, 2005 - Northeast Edition
Susan Haigh - Associated Press

HARTFORD, CT (AP) Gov. M. Jodi Rell wants new disclosures from consultants involved with state contractors, following reports of former Gov. John G. Rowland earning $15,000 a month as a consultant for two firms with state ties.

“Whenever a state contract is entered into and the company involved in that contract hires a consultant, we want to know information about that consultant,” Rell said March 24.

Rell, a Republican, asked the commissioners of the departments of Public Works and Administrative Services to require all private businesses with new and renewed contracts with the state to reveal information about the consultants they’ve hired.

At press time, the new policy was scheduled to begin on April 1.

The required information would include the name of the consultant, the terms of the agreement and a brief description of the services being provided.

Recently, federal prosecutors revealed that Rowland, who resigned last July amid a corruption scandal, was hired by Klewin Building Co. and the National Science Center Foundation as a consultant. Both firms received state contracts while Rowland was governor.

He has been earning $5,000 a month from Klewin and $10,000 a month from the National Science Center Foundation.

State Rep. Christopher Caruso, D-Bridgeport, co-chairman of the Government Administration and Elections Committee, said he wanted to hold a public hearing on the matter so the two companies can explain why they hired Rowland after he resigned.

Rell said she supports the idea of an inquiry. She said Rowland’s hiring by the two companies “raises some very serious concerns” about whether her former running mate violated the state’s so-called revolving door statute.

“I think if they proceed and go ahead, I clearly believe the representative has some points and should pursue it,” she said.

Also March 24, Rell removed an item from the State Bond Commission agenda that involved a $1.2- million payment to Norwich-based Klewin for construction work at Manchester Community College. The governor’s office believed Klewin’s claim for the payment is valid, but wants to double-check it.

Michael D’Amato, president and chief executive of Klewin Building Co., said in a statement that the company is “gladly providing” additional information to the state Department of Public Works on the Manchester college contract. Klewin was the low bidder and won the contract after Rowland left office, he said.

Company officials also “welcome the opportunity” to appear before the Government Administration and Elections Committee to answer any questions, D’Amato said.

Rowland’s contract with the company has been terminated, and no contract was secured on behalf of his work, D’Amato said.

Rell also called on the General Assembly to pass legislation that would close any loopholes in the revolving door statute. The rule prevents former state officials from representing a company before their former agency for a year after leaving state service, among other restrictions.

Rowland was sentenced last March 18 to one year and one day in federal prison, followed by four months of house arrest. He pleaded guilty in December to selling political access for more than $100,000 in vacations, charter jet trips and home repairs.