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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Attorneys argue for Gov. Ryan to keep pension after conviction

So the disgraced former governor of Illinois wants to retain his pension. Last year he was convicted in federal court of mail fraud, money laundering, extortion, obstruction of justice and bribery during his time as Secretary of State and Governor during the years of 1991 to 2003. George Ryan is currently free on an appeal bond as he seeks to appeal his conviction to a six year sentence in federal prison.

Anyway here's a little snippet from the Chicago Tribune...

Attorneys for Ryan, who filed a lawsuit to keep his pension in December, argued at a Wednesday hearing that the former governor should be allowed to keep his state pension earned during 24 years as a county board member, state representative and lieutenant governor.

Attorneys said Ryan was not accused of crimes in those years.

State retirement officials argued that Ryan must forfeit all pension benefits because the corruption occurred while he was a state employee.

Ryan was sentenced to 6{ years in prison in September for mail fraud, money laundering, extortion, obstruction of justice and bribery during his time as secretary of state and governor, from 1991 to 2003.

In November, the General Assembly Retirement System board vote unanimously to take away Ryan's entire $197,000 annual pension, ruling that his conviction wiped out benefits built up from a 35-year career in public office.

Ray Mitchell, one of Ryan's attorneys, said Wednesday that unless the court steps in, "his family, his wife ... will be left with nothing," the Chicago Tribune reported its Web site.

Assistant Attorney General Ronald Rascia, representing the state retirement system, said giving Ryan his pension would set a bad precedent. He said corrupt state officials would be able to protect pensions by changing jobs often, knowing only their current position is at risk.

"Don't take the teeth out of (the state pension) statute, your honor," Rascia said at the hearing.

Cook County Circuit Judge Martin Agran is expected to rule next month.
In the last gubernatorial campaign in Illinois an issue that has come up often was the pensions. Pensions I believe of those employed in the service of Illinois. Now Ryan wants the pension he could have kept by not engaging in his corrupt practice.

I don't know if he's gonna pull this one off. At least not without proving that he's actually innocent of those charges against him. Then again I was somewhat amazed that Governor Ryan was convicted in federal court.

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