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Critics call for Conn. governor to resign

By Associated Press
Published December 14, 2003

HARTFORD, Conn. - Some Democratic legislators said Saturday they will pursue impeachment proceedings against Gov. John G. Rowland if he does not step aside, but a top aide said the Republican has no plans to leave office over his admission that a state contractor helped pay for work on his summer home.

Dean Pagani, Rowland's spokesman and chief of staff, said Rowland has not been accused of any wrongdoing and is cooperating fully with federal investigators.

"The governor has no intention of resigning," Pagani told reporters Saturday. "His only intention is to complete the current term he is serving and get the job done on behalf of the people of the state of Connecticut, as he has for the last nine years."

The three-term governor admitted Friday that friends, contractors and subcontractors paid for work on his summer home ranging from gutters to a hot tub. Those contributing included the Tomasso Group - a major state contractor - and a former co-chief of staff under investigation in a federal corruption inquiry.

The written statement came 10 days after Rowland said he alone paid for the improvements on the house.

Under state ethics laws, it is illegal for the governor to take any gifts worth more than $10 from people doing or seeking to do business with the governor's office. The Tomasso Group has many contracts with the state but none with the governor's office.

State Democratic Party chairman George Jepsen on Saturday called on Rowland to temporarily step aside during the ongoing federal corruption investigation. Five Democratic state lawmakers said they will seek Rowland's impeachment if he does not step down.

Rowland said Friday that while he paid for more than $30,000 in improvements to the cottage in Litchfield, friends, contractors and subcontractors paid for some of the work. He said none of them received any benefit from the state in exchange.

Alibozek and Rowland's former co-chief of staff, Peter Ellef, paid for heating improvements to Rowland's cottage.

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