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Ex-Con George Ryan To Personally Appeal For Statue

Ex-convict and former governor George Ryan will be the guest speaker at the St. Patrick's Day Salute to 3 Governors fundraiser dinner on March 19 at the Civic Auditorium of Kankakee, according to the Bourbannais Herald.

The purpose of the event is to raise $117,000 for three life-size statues to be erected in a Kankakee Park and dedicated to Len Small, Sam Shapiro and George Ryan, three former Illinois governors from Kankakee.

Of course, Len Small has been labeled by some as the worst Illinois governor in history; George Ryan was convicted of 20 federal felonies and linked to multiple highway fatalities.

The fundraiser was initiated by the GFWC-Il Woman's Club of Kankakee. There is an ongoing dispute whether the club is officially sponsoring the fundraiser and event or not.

I spoke with Shirley St. Germaine, a club member and vocal opponent to the statues. "The Woman's Club has never voted for the project," she told me.

St. Germaine said some club members are trying to railroad the project through. There has not been a quorum available to vote on the approval of the project.

According to the Kankakee Daily Journal, club president Dondi Maricle says it's too late to turn back now.

Another source told me they have thus far sold only eight tickets to the St. Patrick's Day event. That's only $400, not including food decorations and other operating costs, a long way from the $117,000 goal.

Is there community opposition to erecting statues dedicated to corrupt politicians? I would certainly hope so. Illinoisans are fed up with corruption. The people of Kankakee deserve to be at the front of the line. Here are some reader quotes from the Kankakee Daily Journal comments section:

* "Find another cause to bring to your forefront. Your group effort should be unanimous."

* "Do not honor convicted felons by putting them on a pedestal."

* "Dishonest and criminal people so falsely honored."

* "Does a sum of $117,000 truly need to go to bronze statues of people of very questionable reputations, namely that of a convicted felon in particular?"

There were no comments in the Daily Journal supporting the fundraiser.

What's next? Will the fundraiser go on? Will George Ryan's easily recognizable and surly baritone be heard on March 19th at the Civic Auditorium of Kankakee urging a handful of devotees to give money for a statue honoring him? Will he be remorseful for his past crimes and contempt for Illinois voters ? And of course, will hell freeze over?

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Ed Hammer is a retired police captain and author of the book One Hundred Percent Guilty. He can be reached through his website.

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Previously by Ed Hammer:
* George Ryan's Park Bench
* George Ryan's Dogs and Ponies
* George Ryan's Other Jailhouse Interview
* Bugging The Chicago School Board
* Cop vs. Teacher
* Signs of Change
* Pols vs. Teachers
* The Terre Haute Redemption
* Rahm's War On Teachers
* About Those Indicted Nurses
* Body Language Bingo: A Guide To Watching The Presidential Debates
* George Ryan's Day Of Independence
* The Ironic George Ryan.
* George Ryan Is Unrepentant.
* Must Like Puppies.
* ILGov2014: The George Ryan Connection.
* Exclusive: Trump Puts Lion Killer On VP Short List.
* The Statues Of Kankakee.
* Now Even Statues Of Dirty Illinois Governors Want Your Money.

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See also: Honoring A True Illinois Hero.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on March 3, 2016


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