Chicago Mayor Richard Daley promises to weed out alleged corruption in the city. His comments come after another raid of City Hall for documents in the city's scandal-ridden Hired Truck Program. The mayor says he is hurt and embarrassed by the scandal and promises to seek tougher penalties for corrupt Chicago officials.The scandal is getting perilously close to the mayor as the feds raid multiple City Hall offices. A corrupt ex-city official says in court he shook down trucking companies for campaign contributions to Daley. After saying for the umpteenth time he is hurt, embarrassed and determined to root out corruption, Daley couldn't answer most of the tough questions.
KANKAKEE, Ill. (CBS) ― A defiant former Gov. George Ryan said Tuesday he had a "clear conscience" as he prepared to report to prison after losing a long-shot bid to delay his 6 1/2-year sentence for corruption that destroyed his political career and left the state awash in scandal. "Tomorrow I embark on a new journey in my life. I do so with a firm faith in God and the support and faith of my family," Ryan said in the front yard of his Kankakee home, surrounded by his wife, Lura Lynn, his children and other friends. A misty-eyed Ryan said he would report as ordered on Wednesday to the federal facility in Oxford, Wis. "But I do so with a clear conscience. And I have said since the beginning of this 10-year ordeal that I am innocent and I intend to prove that," Ryan said. The 73-year-old Ryan thanked a list of people that included his family, team of lawyers and neighbors and refused to answer questions from the horde of reporters that had stood vigil outside his home all day. He said it would have been easier to make a deal with prosecutors "that would have spared my family a lot of pain," but decided in the end to fight the allegations. "To the people of Illinois, I'm not blind to the sentiment that some hold but I want you to know that I did my best," Ryan said. Ryan was due to report to the correctional center before 5 p.m. Wednesday. Earlier Tuesday, U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens refused to grant Ryan bail, issuing his decision less than 24 hours after a final, urgent plea by Ryan's lawyers, who said his six-month trial had been unfair and plagued by errors. Former Gov. James Thompson, Ryan's chief defense counsel, said he was not surprised by Stevens' decision not to grant bail while Ryan continues to press his case before the nation's highest court. "We knew that our petition for bail was a long shot," he told reporters at a news conference. But Thompson said he would go ahead and try to get the Supreme Court to consider Ryan's appeal even as the former governor serves time. Thompson said he will travel with Ryan on his journey to prison. "In addition to being my client, George Ryan has been my friend for 39 years and I don't run from my friends when they get in trouble," Thompson said. "This is a hard thing," said Thompson, who noted he gave Ryan a book on how to prepare for and be a federal prisoner. He said prisoners are allowed to bring an extra pair of eyeglasses and a wedding ring if there are no stones in it but officials will mail the clothes they arrive in back to their relatives after they change into a prison uniform. Ryan was ready to do any job assigned to him, Thompson said. "There is no reason why he can't clean toilets, sweep the floors or do whatever else they do at Oxford," Thompson said. Kankakee business owner Heidi Berens, 39, said she had "mixed emotions" about the community's best-known resident going to prison. "It's high time he owns up to the crooked things he's done, but I look at his face and I see an elderly man, a grandfather-type person and I think it's sad," Berens said. The minimum-security prison camp, located about 60 miles north of Madison, has space for 206 inmates in four wings, said Mike Truman, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Washington. It is in a mostly rural area with land set aside nearby for waterfowl habitat. Ryan's typical work day will begin at 7:30 a.m. and include duties such as mopping floors, cleaning toilets, raking leaves, cutting grass, painting and shoveling snow, Truman said. Ryan was convicted of steering big-money state contracts to Warner and other friends, using state money and state workers to run his campaigns and killing an investigation of bribes paid for truck driver's licenses. Ryan's family and others will remember him being called worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize for emptying death row in Illinois when it became clear so many cases were deeply flawed, or for traveling to Cuba to try to engage Fidel Castro. But both may be overshadowed by that horrible accident in Wisconsin, the death of six children and his subsequent conviction he still maintains was unfair. His claim that he did not receive a fair trial is based primarily on chaotic jury deliberations. Two jurors were dismissed after it was found they had omitted mention of their police records on a questionnaire. Ryan and co-defendant Larry Warner, whose request for bail also was turned down by the high court, have remained free on bond since their April 2006 convictions. A court official announced Stevens' decision around noon, a few minutes after the Supreme Court had adjourned for the day. The appeals court had affirmed the men's convictions in a 2-1 split decision. Ryan and Warner then asked the appeals court to reconsider and were turned down by a 6-3 vote. The scandal that wrecked Ryan's political career began on what should have been a good day for him -- Election Day 1994, when voters gave him a second term as secretary of state. But that morning, a heavy metal part fell off a big semitrailer truck and struck a van, puncturing the gasoline tank and throwing off sparks as it dragged the pavement. The van instantly was engulfed in flames that killed six children of the Rev. Scott and Janet Willis. State agents who began looking into how the driver got his license were dismissed by Ryan and replaced by inspector general Dean Bauer, a former Kankakee police chief and Ryan family friend. Bauer later pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and told how he spent seven years covering up scandals to spare Ryan embarrassment. Attorney Joseph A. Power Jr., who later obtained a $100 million settlement for the Willis family, pressed the federal government to take up the investigation. The probe resulted in the conviction of scores of state officials, trucking executives, lobbyists and others. Power said Tuesday he had spoken with Scott Willis and the Willises "believe justice prevailed in this case" and that Ryan "should be held criminally accountable for his corrupt conduct." "Despite the fact that he had 19 defense lawyers he was found guilty on all counts," Power said. Ryan was elected governor in November 1998, only weeks after the federal investigation surfaced. But as the scandal deepened, he announced he would not seek a second term. Ryan's one-time top aide, Scott Fawell, and Republican political strategist Donald Udstuen both went to prison in the scandal. And when Ryan and Warner were indicted in 2002, Fawell became the government's star witness. Almost as soon as closing arguments were delivered, the atmosphere in the jury room turned poisonous. Jurors claimed one member refused to deliberate and asked trial Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer to remove the juror. Pallmeyer balked, later removed that juror and another when it was discovered they had lied on a pretrial questionnaire about their police records. Later, it was discovered that one of the jurors brought an unauthorized legal document into the room. Before it was over, two jurors hired their own lawyers and there was discussion of giving some jurors immunity from prosecution. The chaos led dissenting judges on the appeals court to suggest the errors were so serious the trial had been unfair. But most judges said whatever errors existed had been harmless.
Quote from: eddy on September 07, 2006, 06:36:16 AMChicago Mayor Richard Daley promises to weed out alleged corruption in the city. His comments come after another raid of City Hall for documents in the city's scandal-ridden Hired Truck Program. The mayor says he is hurt and embarrassed by the scandal and promises to seek tougher penalties for corrupt Chicago officials.The scandal is getting perilously close to the mayor as the feds raid multiple City Hall offices. A corrupt ex-city official says in court he shook down trucking companies for campaign contributions to Daley. After saying for the umpteenth time he is hurt, embarrassed and determined to root out corruption, Daley couldn't answer most of the tough questions.The "Hired Truck Program" involved hiring private trucks to do city work. A 6-month investigation by the Chicago Sun-Times resulted in a 3-day series of articles in January 2004 that revealed that some participating companies were being paid for doing little or no work, had mob connections or were tied to city employees. City employees were supposedly barred from the program. Truck owners also paid bribes in order to get into the program. The program was overhauled in 2004 (and phased out beginning in 2005). In February 2005, Daley denied complicity in the unfolding scandal saying, "Anyone who believes that my interest in public life is in enriching my family, friends or political supporters doesn't know or understand me at all. My reputation and the well-being of this city are more important to me than any election."The Sun-Times special report showed that 25 percent of all Hired Truck money went to companies from Daley's 11th Ward power base and $108,575 in campaign contributions flowed to the mayor from companies in the program beginning in 1996. Additional reporting by the Sun-Times revealed that the Mayor's brother, Cook County Commissioner John Daley, sold insurance to three major trucking companies. In February 2006, John Briatta, whose sister is married to John Daley, pleaded guilty to taking at least $5,400 in bribes to steer Hired Truck work to a trucking company. The litany of cases of bribery grew to include former City Clerk James Laski, who pleaded guilty to taking bribes in return for steering Hired Truck business to friends. It was also revealed that tons of asphalt paid for by the city were stolen by truck drivers in the Hired Truck program. The asphalt was then used on private jobs.
These muthafukking old farts should learn their lesson that they can and will go to die in jail when they deserve it! I pray Ryan gets beaten real bad before he goes to hell!
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