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As he leaves prison, George Ryan still mourning wife, eager to see kids

Former Illinois Gov. Jim Thomps(left) has pressed hard for pal George Ryan’s prisrelease. | Randy Squires ~AP

Former Illinois Gov. Jim Thompson (left) has pressed hard for pal George Ryan’s prison release. | Randy Squires ~AP

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Updated: March 2, 2013 7:28AM



The Ryan report . . .

“We are coming to the end of a long journey.”

Thus spoke former Gov. Jim Thompson to Sneed on Tuesday — the day before former Gov. George Ryan’s release from a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind.

Ryan, who has spent a little more than five years in prison after his conviction on corruption charges, is set to be released Wednesday by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and immediately sent to a halfway house in Chicago.

“There will be no — and I emphasize no — press statements from him [Ryan] until July because he will still be under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Prisons until then and making such statements to the press is against their policy,” Thompson said. “However, when George is securely tucked into the [Salvation Army] halfway house in Chicago, I will make a statement to the press at that location.”

Sneed is told that Ryan, who lost his beloved wife, Lura Lynn, and brother, former Kankakee Mayor Tom Ryan, while in prison — is a man still suffering from their loss.

Ryan, whose six children have traveled consistently to see their father in prison, is eager to be with them all at once and eventually return to the house where he raised them with Lura Lynn, his high school sweetheart.

His son, Homer, the youngest of the Ryan brood, has been instrumental in keeping the family close.

Ryan’s enemies have urged that he not be released from prison during all his legal appeals because of the deaths of the six Willis children who were killed in a traffic accident tied to a scandal dealing with the sale of drivers’ licenses when Ryan was secretary of state.

The fact is . . . Ryan’s trial had nothing to do with the deaths of the Willis children.

LaHood lore . . .

Per Sneed’s tip on Jan. 15, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood — the only Republican in President Barack Obama’s Cabinet — told staff he’s leaving his post on Tuesday. He’ll stick around until the president’s pick is confirmed.

Hill swill . . .

The “Ready for Hillary” SuperPAC, which is hoping that Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2016, launched last week, and already it has more than 50,000 Twitter followers and 30,000 fans on Facebook.

◆ The indomitable Hillary, whose last day as secretary of state is Friday, may still be recovering from her concussion — but now comes word she is planning to do a second memoir.

Hmmm . . .

Vogue Editor in Chief Anna Wintour — rumored to be President Obama’s pick for ambassador to Britain or France — may have some problems getting confirmed.

◆ Translation: Wintour’s longtime boyfriend, Shelby Bryan, reportedly still owes the U.S. government a boodle in back taxes.

Jordan jots . . .

Hoop legend Michael Jordan lore: It seems Jordan, who can be rude and arrogant when in public, is pretty nice when he is in his own place, his Michigan Avenue steakhouse.

◆ “He’s got a table in the bar that’s kind of his table and he has one in the dining room. When someone sits there the service staff has to tell them ‘We have some good news and some bad news. The good news is you’re sitting in Michael’s booth. The bad news is if he comes in, we’re going to have to move you.’ But then there’s some more good news because we pick up their check. They’re usually pretty excited and then they sit the rest of the night next to MJ.”

◆ That tasty tidbit come via an interview with the eatery’s general manager, Myron Markewycz, on food blog Eater Chicago.

Sneedlings . . .

Congrats to big-bucks GOP fund-raiser/GCG Partners co-founder Ron Gidwitz on being named chairman of the national Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Former Secretary of State Condi Rice is on its board of governors . . . Wednesday’s birthdays: Vanessa Redgrave, 76; Gene Hackman, 83, and Phil Collins, 62.



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