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Judge Unseals Ryan Racketeering Documents (Ex-Illinois Governor George Ryan)
CBS 2 Chicago ^ | Jan 4, 2005 | CBS 2 Chicago

Posted on 01/04/2005 5:45:27 PM PST by Land_of_Lincoln_John

CHICAGO (CBS 2) Prosecutors unveiled a panoramic view of their racketeering case against former Gov. George Ryan on Tuesday, saying he got free Caribbean vacations, cash for his brother's ailing business and a host of other financial benefits through ties to corrupt state landlords and lobbyists.

The government's 114-page preview of the evidence they plan to present at Ryan's racketeering conspiracy trial portrays the former governor as intimately involved in even minor details of alleged corruption, from doling out coveted low-digit license plates to holding luncheons for state employees who raised money for his campaign fund.

It shows Ryan as bonded to his longtime friend and co-defendant, Larry Warner, in a corrupt relationship in which the lobbyist could easily steer lucrative state contracts to his clients. In turn, Ryan got gifts and financial benefits from Warner, from help in investing in the stock market to $6,000 for Ryan's son's cigar business, according to the document.

Ryan and Warner have pleaded innocent. The trial is due to start March 14.

Almost as soon as he was elected secretary of state in 1990, Ryan developed an unusually close relationship with Warner, the document says.

"Let's keep Larry happy if we can," the document quotes Ryan as telling top aide Scott Fawell -- a statement Fawell understood to mean steering business to Warner clients.

The document is something prosecutors often file in conspiracy cases and most often it is made public immediately. Attorneys for Ryan and Warner had tried to keep this one under seal, saying publicity arising from it could unfairly bias potential jurors.

U.S. District Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer, however, ordered it unsealed Tuesday.

The papers portray Ryan as determined to help Warner and impatient with aides who expressed concern about the relationship.

He allegedly ordered one aide to start returning Warner phone calls.

"Warner is your friend," he told Jim Covert, after the aide warned his boss that his close ties to the lobbyist might land him in trouble.

In one case, Ryan personally intervened to change contract specifications to make sure they would fit with a Warner client's proposal, the document says.

Among other things, the court papers tell how longtime Republican strategist Don Udstuen served as a middle man and told companies looking for state business to take their problems to Warner, who then made sure they received a contract.

One of those who went to Udstuen and then Warner, according to the document, was Robert Kjellander, a Springfield lobbyist who headed President Bush's re-election campaign in the Midwest this year.

Ryan pushed through a multimillion dollar computer contract for Kjellander client IBM after Udstuen recommended Warner's services. Neither Kjellander nor IBM is accused of any wrongdoing in the case.

According to the document, a man recommended by Kjellander was later hired by the secretary of state's office after going to lunch with Udstuen and Warner and indicating that he believed the office should obtain an IBM mainframe computer.

Much of the document consisted of fleshing out details of allegations already in the indictment against Ryan and Warner.

It was already known that Ryan's brother, Tom Ryan, the former mayor of Kankakee, had an interest in a company, Comguard.

The fresh court papers, however, tell how when Comguard was having financial difficulties Warner used $50,000 that he received through a state lease in a building he secretly owned to make a loan to Comguard. Less than $6,000 was allegedly repaid.

A Kankakee businessman, Harry Lockman, paid off a $95,000 loan owed by Comguard, the document said. It said Warner secretly reimbursed Lockman using conduits. It said Warner himself was later repaid, although without interest.

Former state Sen. Arthur Swanson was an old Ryan friend who received many benefits from the governor, including help in landing lobbying contracts and an agreement under which the state was to buy the Lincoln Tower complex owned by a Swanson client.

According to the document, Swanson showed his gratitude with $2,200 in Disney World accommodations for a Ryan daughter, a stay in a Cancun condo for Ryan and his wife, money to gamble at Lake Tahoe, traveling expenses and gifts including a St. John's dress, a limoge box, Cuban cigars, Lladro art, golf bags and cuff links.

Secrecy was carefully practiced by the parties, the document said. It said Ryan did not report the gifts on his financial disclosure statements. And Swanson omitted them from his lobbying reports.

While Swanson has always denied giving cash gifts and payments to Ryan, his records show a number of cash withdrawals that suggest he may have done so, prosecutors said. Several of the withdrawals came on Ryan's Feb. 24 birthday when Swanson saw him.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; News/Current Events; US: Illinois
KEYWORDS: georgeryan; operationsaferoads

1 posted on 01/04/2005 5:45:27 PM PST by Land_of_Lincoln_John
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To: Land_of_Lincoln_John

I almost look forward to this hitting the local Chicago news. It might take away their daily Obama worship time on every news cast.

2 posted on 01/04/2005 5:58:27 PM PST by Proud2BeRight
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To: Land_of_Lincoln_John

Hopefully Daley is next.

3 posted on 01/04/2005 6:20:10 PM PST by Poison Pill
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To: Poison Pill
Hopefully Daley is next.

Good luck on that one. Daley covers his rear quite well. For him I think, it's not about money or high living, but more about being in charge.

4 posted on 01/04/2005 6:31:08 PM PST by glorgau
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To: glorgau

I agree with you. It's power with Daley. Not that the Hired Truck Scandal is going away. For Daley, it's plenty of smoke, but no fire to be found.

5 posted on 01/04/2005 6:45:18 PM PST by Land_of_Lincoln_John
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To: Land_of_Lincoln_John
"Mayor Daley's Water Department operated as a "racketeering enterprise,'' raking in more than $500,000 in bribes for at least a decade, a federal grand jury charged Thursday, greatly expanding the Hired Truck investigation."

If the city and county gov's are criminal rackets, how come I have to pay taxes? Doesn't that make me an accessory?

6 posted on 01/04/2005 7:02:45 PM PST by pierrem15
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To: pierrem15

speaking of accessory -
I submitted a concern to my employer regarding Dishonest/Unethical Conduct via a 'Speak Up' program offered by my company that allows employees to express such concerns without fear of retaliation.
Several months after submitting this concern I saw that there is an indictment directed at certain high ranking past Illinois officials and happens to include my employer as one of the companies these officials are accused of receiving illegal money from.
The 'concern' I submitted to management expressed my observation that certain groups of individuals including those directly associated with our State of Illinois and local government strategic outsourcing practice seemed to have a vested interest in my cooperating with redevelopment plans for my Chicago neighborhood by vacating my property (along the lakefront in South Chicago). I expressed the possibility that the State of Illinois was using its sizable contracts with our company as leverage to cause managers of the group to apply pressure. In addition to my company and I noticed that Chicago Department of Water, CPD, CFD, Bank One, RCN, Prime Group, Sears, Peoples Gas and SBC and other entities also seem to be interested in the outcome to the 'acquisition' of this lakefront area.
My feeling is that there are investments made by these large entities, perhaps with pension funds, which have some dependency of the outcome of the 'project' slated for the South Chicago Lakefront

7 posted on 02/20/2005 8:26:55 AM PST by liveinchicago9855
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To: liveinchicago9855
The shamelessness these people show in their corruption is breathless to behold.

You've heard about the tollway concession contracts managed by one of Blagojevich's bigger campaign contributers (from Los Angeles)? they claim the contracts are 'private contracts' not subject to public disclosure because they were arranged by the 'consulting' company and not the tollway authority directly.

You also heard about the Fed judge in chicago whose wife works for the firm representing a racketeering defendant who is appearing before him? He refuses to recuise himself and somebody at the US attorney's office leaked the info to the press.

I wish Chicago would be placed under Federal receivership until clean elections can be held.

8 posted on 02/20/2005 9:26:37 AM PST by pierrem15
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