The high court held that Ryan’s racketeering and fraud conviction makes him ineligible for any of the money, the Associated Press reported. The court said state law “plainly mandates that none of the benefits provided for under the system shall be paid to Ryan.”
The decision upholds a ruling in a lower court case in which Ryan attempted to keep the pension benefits he earned before engaging in illegal activities (see Convicted Former IL Governor Loses Pension Plea). However, it overturned an appellate court ruling that would have given him a partial pension, according to the AP.
The dissenting judge in the 6-1 opinion said that in her view, the majority broke with a previous decision in a similar but unrelated case, and that she could not join “an unjustified departure from precedent.”
Ryan was convicted in April 2006 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 in September 2006 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.