Skip to comments.Hundreds of Names on (IL Governor) Ryan Clout List - Even Tribune Political Reporter!
Posted on 01/28/2003 5:48:56 AM PST by IncPen
Federal prosecutors unloaded a political bombshell Monday: a list of more than 1,000 requests for patronage jobs or favors from then-Secretary of State George Ryan--requests backed by some of the biggest names in Illinois politics.
Call it a snapshot of clout.
The list of "sponsors" for people looking for jobs or favors includes Democratic and Republican political heavyweights, Ryan's own children, lobbyists, priests and crooks, even the Chicago Tribune's chief political reporter, who has covered Ryan extensively.
Political reporter Rick Pearson is named as the sponsor for his wife to get a job in the state library system, which is run by the secretary of state. She was hired.
"We've seen the list and we've spoken with Rick Pearson as well as with his wife's former supervisor," George de Lama, deputy managing editor/news at the Tribune said in a statement. "Rick categorically denies he did anything to help his wife get her job. He said no favors were requested or granted. The director of the library when his wife worked there corroborates that. She said no one from Ryan's office interceded on Margaret Pearson's behalf. We're satisfied with Rick's response."
De Lama declined to elaborate on how Pearson's name got on the list.
The list was released Monday after prosecutors questioned a former secretary of top Ryan aide Scott Fawell during his corruption trial. The secretary, Melanie Shunk, helped create the list.
The document underscores why it's often more important who you know in state government than what you know to get a job.
Exactly when the list was created wasn't specified during the trial, but it appears to come from the mid- to late 1990s.
Fawell is charged with using state workers to do political work on the public's dime, and witnesses have described a secretary of state's office under Ryan as tainted with political considerations.
Shunk testified Monday that the list was considered "highly confidential," and was kept in a completely separate computer disk drive in the office so it couldn't be readily accessed.
The priority list generally reflected pending requests for people who wanted jobs or raises, while another tally, called a master list, was compiled for Fawell to reflect all the favors the secretary of state's office doled out and to whom, according to court testimony.
The master list is expected to be released later in the trial.
The list released Monday names the person who wants a job or favor and that person's sponsor--or clout. The individual listed as the sponsor either directly requested the job or was the name invoked to try to get it.
Former Gov. Jim Thompson was the sponsor for his daughter, Samantha, to get a summer job, which she got.
Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert was a sponsor. So was Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, who was a state senator at the time.
But the list doesn't stop at Republicans, with such Democrats as Chicago Ald. William Beavers (7th) and state House Speaker Michael Madigan noted among the clout-heavy.
A Republican activist, Thomas Roeser, who writes a weekly opinion column for the Sun-Times and once wrote one for the Tribune, had his son's name on the list.
"I talked to George years ago about my son, Tom," Roeser said. His son "was already working at the secretary of state's office. I talked to George about him getting a better job. Big deal. There wasn't any quid pro quo."
Lobbyists on the list include a close Fawell pal, Al Ronan, as well as Zale Glauberman.
The Rev. George Clements, with help from Ryan himself, apparently made a request for a job for one man.
Matt Rodriguez, a former Chicago police superintendent, was another sponsor.
As was Jesse White, who would succeed Ryan in the secretary of state's job.
A host of people later indicted for crimes are on the list as sponsors, including Cicero Town President Betty Loren-Maltese, Melrose Park Mayor C. August Taddeo and developer Peter Palivos.
Among the people frequently mentioned as sponsors are Lynda Long--Ryan's secretary at the time--and Tommy Coutretsis, a Greek restaurant owner and the father of Andrea Coutretsis Prokos, who is Fawell's mistress.
The list even tracks requests made by Fawell's mother, Beverly, who was a state senator at the time and has attended her son's trial every day.
Ryan's family, including his son, Homer, were sponsors.
State Sen. David Syverson (R-Rockford) is listed as the sponsor for "Mommy Syverson."
And former Chicago mayor Eugene Sawyer is the clout for his son to get a job.
While the list is about doing favors for people, it isn't about kindness, necessarily.
The tally contains candid assessments of some of the candidates put forward for jobs.
"Retested/moron" is a critique for a job candidate from then-Rep. Don Saltsman (D-Peoria). Rep. Raymond Poe (R-Springfield) is the clout behind "numerous knuckleheads," according to the list.
"Can't pass a test/idiot," is the assessment of another man sponsored for a job by former state Senate President James ''Pate'' Philip.
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