Contractor Goes to Court Over Rowland Case

A state contractor and a close friend of Gov. John G. Rowland (search) went to court Thursday to try to quash subpoenas from the legislative committee investigating the governor.

Lawyers for Tomasso Group (search) claim the subpoenas are unreasonable, violate their constitutional rights and "may result in publicity that impairs plaintiff's rights in connection with the federal investigation" of corruption in Rowland's administration.

Lawyers for businessman Robert Matthews, a millionaire friend of the governor, claim in their motion that the subpoena (search) violates his right to due process and that the committee has no jurisdiction over Matthews because he is a Florida resident.

The House of Representatives voted in January to establish the inquiry committee after the governor admitted lying about accepting gifts for his cottage from friends, politically appointed employees and a state contractor. Rowland, who is also the subject of the federal corruption investigation, has apologized and said he never provided anything in return to the gift-givers.

The committee, which will recommend to the full House of Representatives whether Rowland should be impeached, has issued dozens of subpoenas. Rowland and his wife were among those initially served with subpoenas last week.

The deadline for complying with the subpoenas was noon Thursday. The committee's leaders said they have already talked to some parties about granting extensions.