One of two congressional candidates, who federal prosecutors hope will help put former Gov. John Rowland behind bars again, testified Wednesday on day one of Rowland's conspiracy trial in New Haven.
Rowland stands accused of conspiring to hide political consulting work for each of his two campaigns.
Mark Greenberg, a Litchfield businessman who is running for the fifth district congressional seat for the third consecutive election cycle, told prosecutors he still likes former Gov. Rowland, but believes that Rowland proposed a consulting agreement that would've gotten him in hot water had he accepted.
During Greenberg's three hours of testimony he said John Rowland asked him to pay him from one of his businesses, not from his campaign. Rowland's representatives have said that was to protect the candidate from any potential negativity that might arise out of having an ex-convict working for him.
The formal proposal, which was presented to Greenberg on Oct. 21, 2009, stated that from Nov. 1 of that year through Jan. 1, 2012, Rowland would offer consulting services to Mark Greenberg and his companies for marketing, sales and more. Strategic advice, public relations and business consulting were also terms used in the proposed agreement.
The fee included $105,000 upfront, which would cover the first three months of the consulting deal. Then, the agreement stated, Rowland would be paid $35,000 per month for the remainder of 2010. The agreement would stretch through 2011, during which time Rowland would be paid $25,000 per month.
All told, Rowland was proposing a deal that would've netted him nearly $800,000 in just over two years.
Greenberg told the jury that a couple of days after he received the proposal he tore it up because he expected it would be a federal elections commission violation if he had not paid Rowland through his campaign.
That being said, Greenberg admitted that it took him another eight months to formally tell Rowland, via email, that his services would not be required.
On cross-examination Greenberg agreed with Rowland's attorney, Reid Weingarten, that the language of the proposed agreement was very broad and could well have been intended to provide not only political services but other services to Greenberg's wide array of businesses--which includes an animal rescue in Bloomfield that goes by the name of the Simon Foundation.