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Ryan Still Wants Part Of Pension

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Nov 19, 2009 3:20PM

2009_11_19_Ryan.JPG Yesterday the Illinois Supreme Court heard arguments regarding former governor George Ryan's pension as Ryan attempts to reclaim part of his pension. Representing Ryan was another former governor, Jim Thompson. Thompson argued that though Ryan was stripped of his entire pension - a mind-boggling $197,037 per year, according to the Sun-Times - by the General Assembly upon his conviction in 2006, Ryan should still be entitled to the pension for offices he held before he became secretary of state in 1991; he had been a member of the Kankakee County Board, a State House Rep., and Lieutenant Governor (under Thompson). Why those offices? Because he served those offices "honestly"; in other words, he wasn't charged with anything while serving those offices. The pension he'd collect for those jobs would total around $60,000. Earlier this year, a state appeals court reversed the complete stripping of his pension. Reps for the retirement system, though, are none-too-amused. The Sun-Times continues:

But Jan Hughes, an assistant attorney general representing the retirement system, argued that felony forfeiture provisions in state pension law leave no choice but to strip Ryan of his entire government pension, which she said serves as a deterrent to future dishonest officeholders.

"The policies of the felony forfeiture provision are to deter others and to discourage official malfeasance," Hughes said. "Giving Gov. Ryan even part of his pension does nothing to promote those policies."

But Thompson countered that leaving Ryan with only a fraction of the lucrative pension he originally stood to draw represented more than "a slap on the wrist" when coupled with the fact he has lost his reputation and is languishing in a federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind.

The justices of the state supreme court did not say when they would issue a ruling. It's been a tumultuous year for all things Ryan (besides the whole being-in-jail aspect): in an effort to gain a Presidential pardon from outgoing President George W. Bush, Ryan issued an apology from his jail cell for his crimes, name-checking the Willis family, whose six children died in a car accident caused by a driver who got is license with a bribe while Ryan was Secretary of State. But his attempt at gaining that pardon failed even as Ryan found himself nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for the sixth time by a University of Illinois professor who's been trying to get Ryan's work on ending the death penalty rewarded. Ryan has since made a plea to President Obama but that, too, has elicited little, if any, response. If all else fails, Thompson is due for release from prison in July 2013.