Ex-gov Ryan to lose state pension

February 19, 2010 8:43:10 AM PST
Former Governor George Ryan will have to forfeit his entire state pension. The Illinois Supreme Court handed down that ruling Friday morning. Ryan is currently serving a 6 and a half year prison sentence for racketeering and fraud.

He committed the crimes while he was secretary of state and governor. Ryan was hoping to salvage a $60,000 a year pension he earned during his years as a state lawmaker and lieutenant governor.

But the high court ruled 6-1 that he's ineligible for any state pension. Before his conviction, Ryan was scheduled to draw a pension of more than $197,000.

On Thursday, the former governor's wife said she was renewing pleas for her husband's clemency. Lura Lynn Ryan suffers from terminal lung disease and is hoping President Barack Obama will grant her husband an early release because of her health.

George Ryan's attorney, former Gov. Jim Thompson, says Ryan himself has health problems, including kidney disease and infected teeth.

Ryan, who was sent to a federal prison in Indiana after his 2006 conviction on corruption charges, turns 76 next Wednesday.

In a telephone interview Wednesday with the Chicago Tribune, Lura Lynn Ryan confirmed she had made a previous plea for clemency for her imprisoned husband in 2008 by calling then-President George W. Bush's mother, former first lady Barbara Bush. She said she was unsuccessful.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.