HARTFORD, Conn. – Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland (search), for months the subject of investigations into alleged corruption in his administration and facing possible legislative impeachment, will announce his resignation Monday night, his attorney told The Associated Press.
The governor was planning to announce his resignation on a live television address to the state at 6 p.m., William Dow III, Rowland's personal lawyer, told the AP.
An administration source said the resignation would be effective July 1 at noon.
Rowland's resignation would elevate Lt. Gov. M. Jodi Rell (search) to governor, who would serve out the term which ends in 2006. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin Sullivan, D-West Hartford, would be elevated to lieutenant governor. The sources said the governor planned to deliver his address from the governor's residence in Hartford.
A spokesman for the governor's office refused to comment. The lieutenant governor's office did not immediately return phone messages.
Rowland, 47, a Republican easily re-elected to a third term in 2002, admitted late last year that he lied about accepting gifts and favors from friends, state contractors and state employees. But he has denied doing anything in return for accepting those gifts, and said he has not compromised the office.
State and federal authorities have been investigating those allegations and a special House committee also has been considering whether to recommend Rowland's impeachment.
The announcement comes several days after the state Supreme Court ruled that the legislative panel could compel the governor to testify.
House Speaker Moira Lyons said she did not plan to ask the committee for an impeachment recommendation. "What's the point of impeaching someone who's no longer in office?" she said.
The committee met at 11 a.m. and immediately went into executive session to confer with its attorneys and decide how to proceed.
Rep. Arthur O'Neill, R-Southbury, the inquiry committee's Republican co-chairman, called it a sad ending to a brilliant political career.
"It certainly takes an enormous weight off the shoulders of the committee and of the House of Representatives and for that matter the whole legislature," O'Neill said. "In that regard, I believe the governor is doing a service to the people of Connecticut by eliminating that process."
First elected governor in 1994, Rowland had previously served three terms in Congress and two in the state House. A native of Waterbury, he would have become the longest-serving governor in modern state history by completing his term.
Rowland was once the nation's youngest governor — he was 37 in 1994 — and considered a rising star in the GOP. He is a former chairman of the Republican Governors Association and was rumored to be considered for several positions in the Bush administration.
O'Neill said he had not reached a conclusion yet on whether to recommend Rowland's impeachment.
When he first took office, Rowland made $78,000 a year, was paying alimony and supporting a large family — three children from his first marriage and a second wife with two children — when his much wealthier friends and state contractors began to give him a taste of the finer things in life.
They fixed up his cottage in bucolic Litchfield, where Connecticut's movers and shakers summer, complete with a hot tub given to him by a state employee. The governor got thousands of dollars in Cuban cigars and French champagne, a vintage Ford Mustang convertible and free or discounted vacations at the estates of his friends — contractors who won substantial business from the state.
But the high life started crumble in 2003. That's when Rowland's former deputy chief of staff, Lawrence Alibozek (search), pleaded guilty in March to federal charges he steered state business to certain contractors in exchange for gold and cash.
That plea — and the governor's subsequent acknowledgment that a federal grand jury had subpoenaed stacks of documents relating to several major projects and a politically connected contractor — set the stage for a spring and summer of embarrassing revelations about discounted vacations he had taken at homes owned by people doing business with the state.
One of those people was William Tomasso (search), a principal in the contracting firm under scrutiny by the grand jury.
Rowland paid $9,000 to the state Ethics Commission to settle its probe of the vacation stays. Two months later he paid $6,000 to the state Elections Enforcement Commission to settle a complaint over charges he made to a state Republican Party credit card.
Rowland admitted no wrongdoing in either case.
In mid-December, Rowland admitted he had lied about who paid for improvements to the cottage. Asked Dec. 2 about who paid for the work, Rowland insisted he and his wife, Patricia, had taken out several loans to cover the bills.
Ten days later he issued a statement apologizing to the Capitol press corps and admitting friends, employees and some state contractors — including the Tomassos — had paid for renovations, including a new heating system, a hot tub, work on the kitchen, ceiling and deck.
Rowland cited his salary when asked in December why he waited more than five years to pay some of the bills for work at his cottage.
"I was making $78,000 a year, paying a significant portion of that in unallocated alimony," said Rowland, who began earning $150,000 in January 2003. "So there wasn't a lot of capital left without that."
Rowland and his wife bought the cottage in 1997. Rowland, who pays $2,833 a month in alimony and child support, has three children from a previous marriage. His wife, Patricia, has two sons from a previous marriage.
Much of Rowland's daily life is paid for by the state. Aside from the cottage Rowland has no property, according to people familiar with the governor's finances.
In 1997, Rowland sold a condominium in Washington, D.C., to Wayne Pratt, a well-known antiques dealer who was convicted earlier this year on tax evasion in connection with the deal. Pratt, who bought the condo from the governor for well above market rate, admitted he was the front man for a state contractor and Rowland friend, Robert Matthews.
Matthews, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing, is a wealthy businessman who has received millions of dollars in state-backed loans for manufacturing companies he owns. He also owned a yacht and luxury homes, including an estate in Palm Beach, Fla., where Rowland stayed.
Rowland grew up in working class Waterbury, where his late father and grandfather both served as city comptroller. A wrestler at Holy Cross High School, he was elected to Congress in 1984 at age 27 and became the nation's youngest governor at age 37 when he first took office in 1995.
Lyons, the house speaker, said Connecticut residents may never know the reason for Rowland's behavior.
"He's a gifted and prominent politician. That's fact," House Speaker Moira Lyons said. "Why in the world would someone who has so much promise choose a path of deception? I don't understand that. I don't think any of us do."