Editorial Calls for Rowland to Quit as Conn. Governor

Connecticut's largest newspaper called on Gov. John G. Rowland (search) to resign in an editorial prepared for Sunday's edition, saying a corruption investigation and his "repeated deceptions" over accepting gifts from friends and contractors are hurting state government.

A week after warning Rowland he had just one more chance to come clean, The Hartford Courant wrote, "Enough of this gubernatorial nonsense. The way to end this sad spectacle is for the governor to resign.

"His repeated deceptions as well as the wide-ranging federal investigation of alleged corruption (search) in his administration have had a debilitating effect on state government," the newspaper said.

Rowland admitted this month that some improvements to his summer cottage in Litchfield, ranging from gutters to a hot tub, were paid for by friends, staff members and state contractors, some of whom have been subpoenaed as part of a federal corruption investigation. Days earlier Rowland had said he had paid for all the work.

Rowland has apologized for lying but said he will not resign. A spokesman reiterated Saturday that the Republican governor will not step down.

"The governor ran for his third term to improve education across our state and revitalize Connecticut's cities," John Wiltse said. "And he's going to finish the job."

The Courant joined the Journal-Inquirer of Manchester, The Day of New London and The Herald of New Britain in calling for the governor's resignation (search). Other newspapers have suggested he step aside while an investigation is conducted.

Democratic lawmakers have called for Rowland's resignation, and some Republicans are increasing pressure on him as well.

Connecticut's Republican members of Congress - Reps. Christopher Shays (search), Nancy Johnson and Rob Simmons - want to meet with him to discuss his political future. "I don't know how he can continue to stay in office," Shays said Friday.

Those paying for or performing work on Rowland's cottage included employees of the Tomasso Group, a contractor with over $100 million in state projects.

The federal corruption investigation became public in the spring, when Rowland's former deputy chief of staff, Lawrence Alibozek (search), pleaded guilty to charges he accepted gold and cash in exchange for steering state contracts.

Alibozek - whom Rowland said Friday he barely knew - and former co-chief of staff Peter Ellef paid for more than $5,000 worth of heating improvements to the summer home.

A University of Connecticut poll found 55 percent of residents surveyed said Rowland should resign. A Quinnipiac University poll found voters were evenly split on resignation.