Former Illinois Governor Convicted of Racketeering Conspiracy as Part of the Operation Safe Road Investigation
On April 17, following a six-month trial, former Illinois Governor George H. Ryan, Sr. and long-time personal associate, Lawrence Warner, were found guilty in US District Court in Chicago on charges, of racketeering conspiracy, mail and tax fraud, and false statements. The 22-count indictment issued in December 2003 alleged that Ryan and his associates engaged in a pattern of corruption that included using state resources to benefit Ryan, members of his family, and his political organization. The indictment charged that Ryan and members of his family received illegal cash and gifts totaling approximately $167,000 during his terms as Illinois Secretary of State (from 1991 to 1999) and Governor from (from 1999 to 2003). It also charged Ryan with directing payments totaling over $300,000 to a prominent lobbyist, Donald Udstuen, who earlier pled guilty to corruption charges. During Ryan's tenure as Secretary of State, the underlying joint-agency 'Operation Safe Road' was investigating allegations of bribes being made in exchange for commercial driver's licenses issued to unqualified truck drivers. It expanded into a broader investigation of political corruption, and subsequent convictions of several of Ryan's top aides and associates. Ryan is scheduled for sentencing on August 4, 2006.
Note: Indictments, informations, and criminal complaints are only accusations by the government, all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.