In One Eye

Tuesday, November 25, 2003
Finally, a story that leads (literally) to our unctuous governor's doorstep.
In the six years since he bought a vacation place in Litchfield, Gov. John G. Rowland has transformed the place from an "almost uninhabitable" cottage to a comfortable lakeside retreat, with a new kitchen, cathedral ceiling and waterfront hot tub.

But town files on the Bantam Lake property leave significant gaps in the public record that is supposed to document what work was done, who did it and how much it cost. Neither Rowland nor the primary contractors on the project would discuss the job at all. The lead contractor said he was "told by people" not to talk about his work; he refused to say who the people were.

But a review of what documents are available and interviews with subcontractors located by The Courant indicate that the value of the work done on the cottage—including the new kitchen, a heating system, electrical work, new windows, a new deck with hot tub and structural alterations to raise the living room ceiling—likely exceeded the total of $13,500 reported on the three permits on file with the town.
Likely, huh? The Courant is estimating that a job of this type would cost cost three times the $13,500 that was paid. I think that's pretty conservative. Let me put it this way: We've had virtually everything listed done to our house—with the exception of the cathedral ceilings, the hot tub, and the new heating system—and the renovations still cost more than $50,000. One can only imagine what the cost would've been with the additional work.

And the reason why craftsman worked for so little money is pretty clear: "They were told ... that if they did the work on the governor's cottage at reduced prices, they might be in line for state work."

Needless to say, if our unctuous governor is in any way involved in this, he's looking at jail time. If he ever does say anything about this situation, he'll no doubt argue that he wasn't aware that this was going on—as has been his defense in myriad other questionable incidents. In this case, however, that defense may not fly since it's likely that his name appears on the checks. It'll be hard to convince a grand jury that he really thought the castle that was ultimately constructed could be purchased for under $15,000.

One now begins to understand why the gov has hired a lawyer.

No doubt more will be upcoming concerning this story, but the whole mess just gets slimier and slimier.