Illinois governor "damn mad" over latest indictments

| 5/24/2002

A story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Wednesday said Illinois Gov. George Ryan is saddened and "damn mad" about federal charges against friends of his as part of the license-for-bribes investigation.

"I am stunned and I'm upset if it's true. I'm damn mad," the governor told the newspaper.

Ryan said he has no reason to think he is "Official A," the high-ranking person in the secretary of state's office the indictments say shared in illegal kickbacks.

Prosecutors charged that Lawrence E. Warner, who Ryan acknowledged was a friend, acted as a lobbyist and steered leases, decided who would get several lucrative contracts and pocketed $2.8 million in payoff cash in return. Prosecutors say Warner shared the money with a senior official whose name was not disclosed, as well as Ryan adviser Donald Udstuen.

The latest indictments bring to 51 the number of former state employees and others charged in the government's four-year investigation of corruption to Ryan's former secretary of state's office. More than 40 have been convicted with many of those being tied to bribes paid for CDLs, with some of that money going into Ryan's political campaign fund.