George H. Ryan, the Kankakee dealmaker who dealt himself into a federal penitentiary, will be transferred into a work release program five months before his prison sentence ends, according to his attorney, another former Illinois Republican governor, Jim Thompson. That means Ryan will be a sort-of free man next February, if Thompson, a former prosecutor who has avoided being on the other side of the law, is correct.
Ryan is a trained pharmacist, but he has been a full-time politician for decades, so Ryan's unique professional experience will make it difficult for the program to find a position that matches his skills. But on the other hand, Ryan might have mastered some custodial tasks at FCI Terre Haute.
A new book about Ryan's successor, Chicago Democrat Rod Blagojevich, makes the claim that federal wiretaps captured the hair-brained one not only considered naming Halle Berry to President Obama's old Senate seat so he could "have a shot" at having sex with her, but that $25,000 was secretly channeled from their mutual friend Tony Rezko into an old Obama campaign account.
Berry, by the way, has never lived in Illinois.
But I want to focus on some more alleged Cook County graft now. It is this type of crime that partially explains why Cook lost population between 2000 and 2010.
From the Chicago Tribune:
As a Cook County revenue inspector, Robert Mitchell was tasked with catching merchants selling illegal cigarettes.Illinois is a gangrenous appendage of America. But the patient can be saved. How? Well, if the accused extortionists are found guilty, they should get Judge Roy Bean-type sentences. No, not execution, but a minimum of 10 years in federal prison. We also need a new state law to prohibit corrupt government workers from ever being employed in the public-sector again.
Instead he sold his insider knowledge for cash payoffs, promising to alert shopkeepers of upcoming inspections so they could avoid steep fines, authorities say.
In a criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday in federal court, Mitchell, 39, tipped off the manager of a convenience store in exchange for monthly payoffs of $600 since December. By the time the last bribe was handed over early last month, Mitchell had pocketed a combined $4,800, the complaint alleged.
The state, city and county taxes required to sell tobacco products can be as high as $46 a carton. To avoid payment, some merchants purchase cigarettes in bordering states with lower taxes.
Inspectors like Mitchell are supposed to be part of a large enforcement effort to catch them. But it is not the first time county revenue employees have been accused of seeking payoffs — two revenue investigators were fired in October after allegedly accepting bribes from vendors.
Such measures will eventually, kicking and screaming of course, clean up Illinois.
The photograph in the picture came from my good friend Dave Logan. ThirdWaveDave lived in Kankakee when Ryan's brother was mayor. Dave passed away yesterday after a long struggle with cancer.
Rest in peace Dave Logan--ThirdWaveDave
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