IL Attorney General Says Ryan Should Lose Pension

September 13, 2006 ( - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan weighed in on the issue of forfeiting former governor George Ryan's pension with a 25-page legal opinion suggesting he lose all of his $197,000 annual pension.

Madigan said in her opinion that the law was clear on the issue. “The criminal conduct in which he engaged for over a decade as a state official is precisely the type of misconduct and breach of public trust that the felony forfeiture provision … is designed to discourage,” she wrote, according to news reports.

The former governor was convicted of racketeering and fraud, and was sentenced last week to six-and-a-half years in prison. After the sentence was handed down, state retirement system officials asked the Illinois Attorney General’s office for guidance on taking away Ryan’s monthly pension check (See Convicted Former IL Governor Could Lose Pension ).

Officials were unsure whether the law dictated that Ryan lose all of his pension or only the portion related to the time covered by his conviction. Ryan was formerly a member of the state’s General Assembly and Lieutenant Governor. Madigan ruled that all of his pension should be forfeited, the news reports said.

Additionally, Ryan said his pension could be forfeited immediately and officials did not have to wait for a decision on the appeal of his conviction. Timothy Blair, acting executive secretary of the General Assembly Retirement System, told the news sources a decision on Ryan’s pension could come later this week.

Ryan is entitled to a refund of contributions he made to his pension during his more than 20 years in service and is allowed to appeal the retirement system’s decision.