John G. Rowland WTIC
John G. Rowland
John G. Rowland WTIC

Former Gov. John G. Rowland, who was named Monday as a conspirator in a criminal case involving a friend’s 2012 congressional campaign, abruptly announced his resignation Thursday as a WTIC-AM radio host as his drive-time talk show was ending at 6 p.m.

“Alright, tomorrow the Red Sox will be on at this hour, and you’ll be enjoying them,” Rowland said, his voice composed. “But I also want to say that today will be my last show as I leave the station to take care of some personal issues.”

Rowland, 56, once again the target of federal prosecutors nearly a decade after a previous scandal chased him from office, never identified the personal issues, but documents made public Monday indicate he is likely to soon face a federal conspiracy charge.

“We accept Mr. Rowland’s decision to step down at this time,” Jenneen Lee, the station’s program director, said in a statement posted on the station’s website soon after Rowland went off the air.

The Rev. Will Marotti, who was Rowland’s spiritual adviser and served as his co-host when Rowland went on the air in September 2010, will take over the 3-to-6 p.m. show beginning Monday, Lee said.

Lisa Wilson-Foley and her husband, Brian Foley, pleaded guilty Monday to a federal conspiracy charge stemming from what they described as an effort to conceal $35,000 in payments to Rowland for help with Wilson-Foley’s unsuccessful congressional campaign in 2012.

Rowland, who served 10 months in prison after pleading guilty to a corruption charge, was identified in court as a co-conspirator of the couple. While Rowland was secretly on Wilson-Foley’s payroll, he offered commentary on her race.

His afternoon program was pre-empted Monday by a Red Sox game as news broke of the guilty pleas by Wilson-Foley and Foley. He returned to the air Tuesday, despite calls by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and others for WTIC-AM to take Rowland off the air.

“Before I get the program going, I just want to make a quick statement,” Rowland said Tuesday. “I am not going to be discussing the legal news and developments. I’m sure that you all understand, and I want to respect the process.”

On Thursday, Rowland gave no hint of what awaits him from that process. He showed perhaps the barest hint of emotion as he announced his resignation.

“I want to thank you all. I want to thank you all for listening. I want to thank you for your tremendous support. I want to thank you for your loyalty. It’s been a great experience. Uh, we’ll take it from there. And God bless you all.”

He thanked his producer and other staff members.

“I appreciate it very much, and I’ve been truly blessed,” Rowland said. In a voice that suddenly turned breezy, he gave way to the traffic reporter, Mark Christopher.

“Mr. Christopher, take us home.”

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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