The Bar News

Supreme Court: No pension for former Gov. Ryan

The Illinois Supreme Court today ruled that imprisoned ex-Gov. George Ryan should not receive any of his state pension because of his conviction on corruption charges. Here's the Court's summary opinion: No. 108184     Ryan v. Board of Trustees Appellate citation: 388 Ill. App. 3d 161. JUSTICE THOMAS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Chief Justice Fitzgerald and Justices Freeman, Kilbride, Garman, and Karmeier concurred in the judgment and opinion. Justice Burke dissented, with opinion. In 2006, former Governor George H. Ryan was convicted of multiple federal felonies committed, between 1990 and 2002, as Secretary of State and as Governor. After his convictions, the Illinois State Retirement System notified him that his pension benefits from the General Assembly Retirement System were being statutorily suspended. Ryan had been a member of this system since 1972, when he joined the General Assembly, and continued in it through his holding of the offices of Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State and Governor. However, his service in the General Assembly and as Lieutenant Governor did not give rise to any felony convictions and, Ryan asserted, he was entitled to benefits based on those earlier years of service. The administrative termination of benefits was upheld by the circuit court of Cook County, but the appellate court reversed in February 2009. In this decision, the Illinois Supreme Court held that Ryan had forfeited all of the benefits he earned from the General Assembly Retirement System, regardless of the fact that he had not been convicted of any felonies in connection with his years in the General Assembly or as Lieutenant Governor. The supreme court interpreted the involved statute to bring about a forfeiture for crimes committed against the employer, in this case the State of Illinois.
Posted on February 19, 2010 by Chris Bonjean
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