Connecticut governor announces resignation
Panel was considering whether to recommend impeachment
HARTFORD, Connecticut (CNN) -- Amid a federal corruption probe, embattled Gov. John G. Rowland of Connecticut announced Monday evening that he is leaving office.
"The months leading to this decision have been difficult for all of us," Rowland said in a statement he read outside the governor's mansion, his wife, Patty, by his side. "I acknowledge that my poor judgment has brought us here. Effective at noon on July 1st, I will officially step down as governor."
Rowland, a Republican, thanked his staff and the writers of "countless letters of support," but said, "There comes a time in everyone's life when you realize it's time to take a new path. This is our time."
Lt. Gov. Jodi Rell, also a Republican, will replace Rowland.
Rowland thanked Connecticut residents for their support in the past as he announced his resignation.
"It's been an incredible honor, and I'm pleased to have served you," Rowland said.
Rowland, 47, has been fighting corruption allegations, and a special state legislative panel had been considering whether to recommend the governor's impeachment.
Rowland's announcement comes several days after the Connecticut Supreme Court rejected his bid to quash a subpoena from the legislative panel.
Rowland had asserted he could not be forced to testify, but the court disagreed.
"The governor is not categorically immune from compelled testimony by this subpoena," the court ruled Friday.
Rowland was once considered a rising star within the Republican Party. He was 37 when he first took the governor's office in 1995. He was re-elected to a third term in 2002, but this year has been one of scandal for Rowland.
At the beginning of the year, Rowland admitted in a televised address that he lied about who paid for renovations to his summer home.
After originally claiming he paid for the construction himself, Rowland later said that state employees and people wanting to do business with the state paid for the installation of a hot tub, a heating system and cathedral ceilings.
But Rowland has denied that the people who performed the work won anything from the state in return for their services.
Rowland has been fined for accepting a set of free concert tickets and a below-rate hotel room.
Last year, one of his top aides pleaded guilty to taking gold and cash from companies in exchange for steering state contracts their way.
No governor in Connecticut history has ever been fined for ethical violations. Rowland has been fined three times by the ethics committee.
Connecticut's ethics commission is also probing the sale of a condominium in Washington by Rowland, a former congressman, for an above-market price.
Even before he made it official, Rowland's resignation was welcomed as the right move by politicians on both sides of the aisle.
"Today is a sad day for John and his family, but he is doing the right thing," Republican Rep. Christopher Shays of Connecticut said in a written statement. "Accepting gifts from people who do business with the state left the governor no alternative but to resign. Our state now has an opportunity to move forward in the capable hands of Jodi Rell. She will be a good governor and has my strong support."
Rowland said his plans were uncertain. Before winning the governor's office, Rowland served three terms in the U.S. Congress and two in the state legislature.