Convicted Former IL Governor Loses Pension Plea

June 1, 2007 ( - An Illinois judge on Thursday rejected an attempt by former governor George Ryan to keep pension benefits he earned before engaging in activities for which he was recently convicted.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the judge agreed with state retirement officials who said Ryan should give up all state pension earned because his corrupt activities occurred while he was a state official. The retirement board members argued that allowing Ryan to keep even a portion of his pension would undermine the laws put into place to discourage corrupt behavior by public officials.

Ryan filed the lawsuit in December, claiming he should be able to collect pension benefits earned while he served as a county official, state representative and lieutenant governor – before the corrupt behavior began (See Fallen Illinois Governor Fights to Keep Part of Pension ).

Ryan was convicted last April of committing mail fraud, money laundering, extortion, obstruction of justice and bribery while he was secretary of state and governor between 1991 and 2003, and was sentenced last September to six and one-half years in prison. Soon after the conviction, the state retirement board voted to forfeit Ryan’s entire $197,000-a-year pension.

One of Ryan’s attorneys said the former governor plans to appeal the decision handed down on Thursday, according to the Chicago Tribune.