Monday, October 29, 2007

George Ryan

Well, the former gov of Illinois is back in the news. He’s lost his appeal to stay out of jail. A nine judge state panel said they were OK with his first verdict.

There is a Supreme Court appeal they can do so the fat lady didn’t sing yet, but we are getting close. He now has been issued an inmate number and they’ve booked a reservation for him on the shores of Lake Superior in Duluth Minnesota, the same prison that housed former Gov Dan Walker.

Walker tells reporters it is mighty cold up there and they run a rope between buildings so the inmates can find their way in the wintertime. Sounds pleasant enough.

I bring this up because there may be an illegal alien link to this story that gets no ink at all. Zero. Zip. Nada. And nothing was really done about giving licenses to illegals until the post-9/11 reforms, although the bribes stopped a few years before that.

The expose on Ryan began back on November 8, 1994 on I-94 near West Layton Ave (Milwaukee) when six children burned to death in a minivan after it was hit by debris from an unsafe truck. Reverend and Mrs. Willis watched as their children died.

Other truckers tried in vain to warn the driver, Ricardo Guzman, before the accident that his truck was losing its parts, but he didn’t understand English.

The investigation after the crash revealed that the truck driver BOUGHT (as in bribery) his license from the DMV. George Ryan was Secretary of State at the time. It turns out that Ryan was requiring campaign contributions from state workers…and state workers were getting those contributions by hitting up unqualified drivers for a bribe.

That was the tip of the iceberg. As they dug deeper they found all sorts of payoffs in the life of George Ryan. And so now we have yet another former Illinois governor set to do hard time. (Judging from the rumors, he won’t be the last.)

So what happened to the truck driver? Well, according to The State Journal – Register in Springfield IL 10/24/05, “Guzman pleaded the Fifth Amendment when asked as part of a civil lawsuit how he got the license and has never been accused of wrongdoing in connection with the accident or even gotten a traffic ticket.”

I suspect that was part of the deal for cooperating with authorities collecting evidence against Ryan.

He was ordered to pay $1 million to the family but my guess is that was a symbolic move. Here’s a list of the Deep Pockets who DID pay out on the claim, according to Roadstar magazine: “Trucking Interests Agree To $100 Million Accident Settlement -
A Chicago couple who lost six children in a 1994 accident have agreed to a $100 million out-of-court settlement, most of which will be paid by Transamerica Leasing Corp.
The accident occurred when a mud flap/taillight assembly fell off a tractor-trailer traveling in front of the minivan carrying the Rev. Duane Scott Willis, his wife Janet and six of their children. The minivan ran over the assembly, which penetrated the gas tank, puncturing the floor board and setting the vehicle on fire.
According to Business Insurance magazine, Transamerica, which owned the chassis, will pay $60 million of the settlement. Allied Products Corp. will pay $14.5 million on behalf of its Load Craft division, which went out of business in 1992. (Load Craft manufactured the chassis extension.) Truck driver Ricardo Guzman and his employer, Hammer Express Inc., will each pay $1 million.
Guzman has not been charged with wrongdoing in the accident. However, he has come under scrutiny because he obtained his CDL at one of the Chicago license facilities under investigation by the federal government for giving passing test grades in exchange for bribes.
Burlington Northern Railroad, which owned the railyard where the equipment was picked up, will pay $14.5 million. Daimler- Chrysler, manufacturer of the Plymouth Grand Voyager the Willises were driving, will pay $10 million.”

The rumor is that the Willises gave away most of the money to charities and non-profit groups, then moved to Tennessee where they live a modest lifestyle.
Ryan’s career was ended (as it should have been) but what happened to Guzman? And why hasn’t the press investigated his background? I think we already know the answer to that.

Update - Ryan has been granted his request to be sent to a prison in Wisconsin rather than the one in Duluth. It will be a closer drive for the Mrs. to visit him. And it is about 15 degrees warmer in the winter.


  1. George Ryan's legacy in IL - Corruption, bribery, thousands of underqualified commercial drivers, endless road construction projects all at once (Illinois 1st, remember?) 6 innocent children dead and 1 family devistated by the chain of events. Enjoy your 3 hots and your cot, Mr. Ryan. Don't drop the soap.

  2. We ought to buy a condo up there with all the govs we've sent up. It'd be cheaper than renting. I wonder if they're big enough for two at once?

  3. As long as they have room for Blago, AKA gov. Gonad....he's next.