What a coincidence
You see, while Ryan’s first day in prison is Nov. 8, Scott and Janet Willis also began serving a prison sentence of sorts 13 years earlier, also on Nov. 8. You will remember that the Willis’ children burned up in the couple’s mini-van after a taillight assembly fell off a tractor-trailer truck being operated by an unqualified driver. The Willis family was following the truck and the taillight assembly ruptured the fuel tank, causing the vehicle to burst into flames. The Willis’ ‘prison’ began on Nov. 8, 1994, as they stood helplessly by a Wisconsin highway and watched their six children, Ben, Joseph, Samuel, Hank, Elizabeth and Peter burn up.
It was later learned that the driver, Ricardo Guzman, was given a license only because his boss, Gonzalo Mendosa, had paid a secretary of state employee to ‘fix’ as many as 80 licenses in exchange for a hefty contribution to Ryan’s campaign.
Throughout this lingering cesspool of corruption, the Willis children have been totally ignored by Ryan and his cronies. Ryan’s million dollar law team worked overtime to make sure the names of those children — once again their names are Ben, Joseph, Samuel, Hank, Elizabeth and Peter — were never mentioned. In fact, Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer blocked Willis from testifying at the corruption trial after Ryan’s lawyers argued that the fatalities had no direct bearing on the charges against Ryan.
Pardon me for bringing this up again, but it does not take a great leap of imagination for me to say unequivocally that it was George Ryan himself, through his license-for-bribe scheme, who put an unqualified driver like Guzman behind the wheel.
And I also remember reading the story about how Scott Willis approached Ryan after his children had died to ask him why he had quashed the investigation and sealed the records on the fatal crash. Instead of offering comfort and compassion to a grieving father, Ryan dressed Willis down verbally and then spun and walked away from him.
There will be those who will dismiss Ryan’s first full day in prison on Nov. 8 and the death of the Willis children on Nov. 8 as pure coincidence and happenstance, however, I don’t see it that way.
Instead, I think those dates were supposed to fall exactly the way they did, so that the legacy of a corrupt, no-conscience, backroom-dealing politico like George Ryan can be more readily and easily defined.
Labels: George Ryan