After being sentenced to 14 years in prison and a $20,000 fine for 18 counts of corruption, ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich won't be able to rely on his pension as governor.
He won’t be getting it, though, because the General Assembly Retirement System Board recently moved to block payments to newly-convicted ex-officials.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s spokeswoman said late Thursday that GARS was sent legal opinion saying that he is barred from ever receiving state pension, which would have been $65,000 a year, and would have begun this coming Saturday when Blagojevich turns 55.
Madigan also said GARS must refund what Blago paid in, approximately $127,000.
Blagojevich will be eligible to receive a pension for years serving as U.S. Congressman. That pension would amount to about $15,000 a year, starting when Blagojevich turns 62.
Blagojevich was sentenced Wednesday to 14 years by Judge James Zagel, who said the sentence would have been a few years higher if not for a late but heartfelt apology from Blagojevich at his sentencing hearing.
"I am responsible. I caused it all. I'm not blaming anybody. I was the governor and I should have known better. And I am just so incredibly sorry,” Blagojevich told the court. "I want to apologize to you, judge, for fighting the charges in the media. … I also want to apologize for challenging the prosecutors.”
Blagojevich must report to prison by Feb. 16. Where he will be serving has not yet been determined, but the defense will file a request a prison nearby so his family can visit. It’s expected to be in Wisconsin or Indiana.
Zagel gave Blagojevich credit for accepting responsibility, which knocked a year or two off his sentence, but he didn't buy into Blagojevich's pleas regarding devotion to his family.
"I see case after case where good fathers are bad citizens and wind up in jail," Zagel said. "If it's any consolation to his children, he does not stand convicted of being a bad father."
Zagel said the office of governor is the most important to protect aside from the office of the president, and corruption there was grave.
"When it is a governor who has gone bad, the fabric of government is torn and disfigured, and is not easily repaired. You did that damage," Zagel told Blagojevich.
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