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Fawell does first TV interview *** UPDATED w/ Video ***

Thursday, Aug 27, 2009

[Bumped up for visibility.]

* If you’re in the Chicago TV market, make sure to tune into Chicago Tonight this evening. One of the guests is former George Ryan chief of staff Scott Fawell. This will be Fawell’s first TV interview since he left prison. Actually it may be his first interview since his indictment. Not totally sure.

I talked to Carol Marin earlier and she said they hope to have video of the interview up relatively fast, so if you miss it, click here later.

If you watch, tell us what happened in comments.

…Adding… Andrea Coutresis, Fawell’s girlfriend whom Fawell kept out of a long sentence by flipping on Ryan, will also be on tonight’s show.

*** UPDATE - 7:27 pm *** And, here it is…

*** UPDATE 2 *** Sun-Times

But Fawell also is well aware of the public perception that surrounds the deaths of the six children of Scott and Janet Willis, who were killed in a crash that involved a truck driver with an Illinois CDL on Nov. 8, 1994.

It later became known that a bribe was paid to “fix” the driver’s exam of the driver whose truck was involved. A federal investigation later revealed that license selling was common under Ryan, with some of the money being used so Secretary of State employees could contribute to Ryan’s campaigns.

“People on the street, they believe George Ryan and I are somehow responsible for that tragic accident,” Fawell said. “Is it the result of corruption? . . . I don’t want to split hairs, but I think it’s more the result of petty graft because people taking money for licenses in the Secretary of State’s office has unfortunately happened for years.

“It’s a tragedy, and certainly I’m sorry it ever happened,” Fawell added. “Do I feel any responsibility? . . . No I really don’t.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Aug 26, 09 @ 4:36 pm:

    Maybe he can appear on Rod Blagojevich’s radio show tomorrow?

    Nothing beats scum interviewing scum, right?

  2. - Chicago-Dem - Wednesday, Aug 26, 09 @ 5:22 pm:

    VM…sounds personal!

  3. - one day at a time - Wednesday, Aug 26, 09 @ 5:25 pm:

    Maybe Scott can promo his new book “How to Flip..Heads = FEDS…Tails = Friends”
    A lot of Blago ‘friends’ should take close note on the importance of the HEADs-up.

  4. - Levois - Wednesday, Aug 26, 09 @ 6:49 pm:

    The interview is up alright. Don’t have to wait for Chicago Tonight. :/

  5. - lucid brazzi - Wednesday, Aug 26, 09 @ 7:33 pm:

    Did I hear that correctly?? Fawell - “I am very Loyal”. George treated this punk like a son and Scotty has the cajones to sit there with his mistress and talk about loyalty. To who, Scott? Your wife? Your mentor? Give me a break.

  6. - Shore - Wednesday, Aug 26, 09 @ 7:40 pm:

    “I couldn’t get a job at a clothing store…I had checked a box that said felony”.


    As someone who wasn’t around for the administration and won’t try to sound like I was, I found it an interesting look at 2 personalities. The guy sounded more like it was a fun adventure.

  7. - A Citizen - Wednesday, Aug 26, 09 @ 8:10 pm:

    Politics in Illinois will not be the same … for a while yet. What Pat and Fitz have done to it is very unfortunate - put to a popular vote my bet is that nothing would change. People know what to expect and how it all works and they like it that way. To put this nice young man and the nice young lady through this meatgrinder is shameful. Afterall, this IS Illinois. Intriguing interview.

  8. - The Court Jester - Wednesday, Aug 26, 09 @ 10:03 pm:

    whew!!!!! glad thats over

  9. - Lynn S - Wednesday, Aug 26, 09 @ 10:11 pm:

    A Citizen: What are you talking about? Fawell and his paramour weren’t even close to getting all they deserved!! Have you forgotten about the six Willis children (how are still dead)?

    This Illinois voter isn’t happy about and doesn’t accept the corruption that goes on in this state. And shame on you for doing so!

  10. - Bobs yer - Wednesday, Aug 26, 09 @ 10:16 pm:

    That show should be required viewing in 9th grade civics classes. If that guy could be so powerful, there’s something wrong.

  11. - Pat collins - Wednesday, Aug 26, 09 @ 10:55 pm:

    You know, I get the impression he learned absolutely nothing. He really doesn’t think he did anything wrong.

    Tha bit about how it used to be when a guy went away sounded like a mafia guy talking. Totally amazing.

    He got what he deserved.

    put to a popular vote my bet is that nothing would change. People know what to expect and how it all works and they like it that way.

    You can’t be serious. I hope you are not!

  12. - 2 Adulterers - Wednesday, Aug 26, 09 @ 11:52 pm:

    This is very sad. Their lack of morals and values led them to exactly what they deserved. They actually got off easy. For all of their dishonesty an even larger sentence would have been in order.

  13. - wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 27, 09 @ 12:58 am:

    What was that all about? Chicago Tonight meets Oprah? Thanks for bringing us the inside story on what Marin called a “tragic love story.”

    “What was it like going to prison?” ” Was it hard to say goodbye to your kids?” “Is there a wedding in your future?” Marin forgot, “If you could be a twee, what kind of twee would you be?”

    Fawell didn’t do nothing. It was just politics. “If some kid in Marion does his political work in the afternoon when he’s supposed to be working his state job, I can’t do anything about that.”

    Darn kids.

    There was no mention that even when he knew the federales were on him for campaign stuff, he was rigging bids at McCormick Place for Ronan’s firm (some way, some how, Al and Potts weren’t charged as individuals — must have good singing voices). Was that politics, too?

    To quote Fawell: “I don’t consider myself a racketeer.”

    To quote the great Paulie Walnuts, “Obviously, he ain’t been rehabilitated.”

    All I got out if it is Yankton ain’t hard time. That might be comforting to some about now.

  14. - DuPage Dave - Thursday, Aug 27, 09 @ 6:40 am:

    Of course he is not sorry. George Ryan isn’t sorry and hasn’t apologized, either. Not a one of that bunch has ever taken responsibility for their actions and the consequences.

    And let us not forget the might Chicago Tribune, which defamed Glenn Poshard for daring to suggest that there just might be a connection between fundraising tickets, selling drivers licenses and the deaths of the Willis children. How different Illinois might have been if Ryan and then Blagojevich had never taken office.

  15. - Pest Control needed - Thursday, Aug 27, 09 @ 7:33 am:

    Sounds like he knew it was going on before Ryan was Secretary of State and did nothing to fix it. And helped cover it up. No remorse.

  16. - wizard - Thursday, Aug 27, 09 @ 7:49 am:

    DuPage Dan, I agree with you, but must add, Blago has not accepted responsibility either. Nor has his supporters, ie a majority of GA Dems.

  17. - Beowulf - Thursday, Aug 27, 09 @ 7:50 am:

    My impression of Fawell is that he tries to come off as a Gordon Liddy or Oliver North. In his mind, he is a quasi-hero because he was so blindly loyal. This character and his groupie girlfriend should be relegatted to where they both belong–the political trash bin. They spent some time in a college dormitory setting. Big deal! How about the US soldier that “did nothing wrong” and is sent to Afghanistan or Iraqi where he gets shot at, dehydrates in 120 degree temperatures,etc. Fawell only got a slap on the wrist just like Ryan did. He should have been shipped over to Afghanistan and given a rifle for 6 years as his punishment. White collar crime participants are treated like royalty in the unlikely event that they manage to accidentally get caught. It is outrageous. Banish them from the country for thirty years instead.

  18. - Louis Howe - Thursday, Aug 27, 09 @ 8:15 am:

    Fawell and company are too painful to watch…He’s pitiful.

  19. - Leave a Light on George - Thursday, Aug 27, 09 @ 8:41 am:

    Fawell added. “Do I feel any responsibility? . . . No I really don’t.”

    The exact same outlook of the majority of Balgo holdovers and why they must go.

  20. - Brennan - Thursday, Aug 27, 09 @ 8:42 am:

    It’s rather haunting that Scott Fawell isn’t contrite at all in regards to what he admitted. His fellow citizens are dead because of his abuse of the public trust. And for what? To achieve victory in a GOP Primary battle?


  21. - wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 27, 09 @ 9:02 am:

    –Blago has not accepted responsibility either. Nor has his supporters, ie a majority of GA Dems.–

    All but one of them did vote to impeach and convict him, however. That’s taking some responsibility.

  22. - Third Generation Chicago Native - Thursday, Aug 27, 09 @ 9:02 am:

    So Scott is doing consulting, and Andrea started her own business. Interesting how Scott said “they found the soft underbelly” of him because the Feds recorded all of his calls from jail where Scott and Andrea were telling each other how much they loved each other etc. So his soft underbelly was Andrea and they used her to get him, and he did not have a choice but to protect her.
    He was also saying how if it was Lura Lynn Ryan, George would of done the same.

    I say the whole thing on Chicago Tonight, last night but WGN and WBBM news radio have been playing clips all morning.

  23. - dupage dan - Thursday, Aug 27, 09 @ 9:29 am:


    You were responding to DuPage Dave, not me. However, I wholeheartedly agree w/DuPage Dave - Ryan and Fawell have no moral center. The Chicago Tribune can’t claim the high ground, either. Poshard was too “downstate” for the urban elites.

  24. - dupage dan - Thursday, Aug 27, 09 @ 9:31 am:


    Ditto for Blago.

  25. - ahem - Thursday, Aug 27, 09 @ 9:36 am:

    Whoa, whole lotta eye-blinking going on in that video!

  26. - Captain Flume - Thursday, Aug 27, 09 @ 10:09 am:

    Poshard is no ethical beacon either, so why bring his name into the conversation?

  27. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Aug 27, 09 @ 10:10 am:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but here’s how I interpret it.

    We insiders knew the Secretary of State’s office was full of graft. And the people who didn’t know are just the chumps to be manipulated during elections.

    The Ryan administration figure if Secretary of State employees were making money off petty graft, we were entitled to some of the action.

    Yeah, we were in a position where we could have reduced the petty graft, but we didn’t feel the need to do it. Ryan didn’t run as a goo-goo. Nobody was making an issue of it. And it just wasn’t that big a secret.

    So, we implemented fundraising policies that created an incentive to increase the petty graft. I don’t feel bad about the Willis children because that guy would have paid a bribe before Ryan got to the office. Under Ryan maybe he would have paid 20% more because we were getting some of the money. What’s the difference the amount he paid?

    Could George Ryan have cleaned-up the office? There’s a the theoretical possibility, but it just wasn’t what the people, the media, the Democrat running against Ryan or anybody was calling for.

  28. - Brennan - Thursday, Aug 27, 09 @ 10:32 am:

    =All but one of them did vote to impeach and convict him, however. That’s taking some responsibility.=

    To the law or their political futures? The only nay vote was an official that had already announced plans to retire.

    When Fawell talks about how the press is contacting him about George Ryan’s political campaigns Fawell doesn’t appear to see the elephant in the room. You can’t where the Chief of Staff hat and the Campaign Strategist hat at the same time. Hire people. Direct the press to the campaign. The Chief of Staff is employed by the people to serve the elected official. If you want to go run the campaign, step down from your state office and go run the campaign.

    Is this an impossible demand?

  29. - siriusly - Thursday, Aug 27, 09 @ 10:36 am:

    I have a lot of respect for Carol Marin, but I have to give her a C+ on this interview. She hit some good parts, but totally didn’t pursue any line of questioning related to bid-rigging or other major crimes committed. As others have commented, she let him off the hook on his “no remorse” quotes.

    Still, it was interesting to see. He should be smart enough to know that George no longer considers him a friend. Makes him look stupid to continue to call George a friend like that.

  30. - Secret Square - Thursday, Aug 27, 09 @ 11:37 am:

    All the focus on George Ryan and Operation Safe Roads does tend to obscure the fact that the ultimate reponsibility for the Willis tragedy rests upon the trucking company — THEY were the ones who chose to hire an unqualified driver, buy his license with a bribe, and neglect proper maintenance and repair of the truck. The corrupt Ryan SOS office didn’t force them to do any of these things, as far as I know, but simply made it easier for the company to get away with doing those things. As such their responsibility is secondary, but still real.

    I would compare it to the responsibility a bar owner who serves underage or already drunk patrons has for an accident caused by someone who drinks at his establishment. While he may not have been the one who got behind the wheel drunk and killed somebody, he helped make the tragedy possible and failed to stop it when he could have.

  31. - One of the 35 - Thursday, Aug 27, 09 @ 1:54 pm:

    It was difficult, but I forced myself to watch the entire interview. The unbelievable approach taken by Fawell is that he is trying to paint himself as the victim here. The victim of the unscrupulous tactics of a relentless prosecuter who will stop at nothing to corner his prey even if it means violating the sanctity of the bond of love between a man and his wonderful women. Does this guy really expect anyone to buy this? And he can’t believe that someone hasn’t offered him a job now that he is out. I’m especially fond of the part that he just told people to get campaign work done. If they forgot to take a vacation day to do it, It’s not his fault. Never mind that instructions were given to attend numerous campaign events that all occurred during normal working hours when workers were on the state clock.

  32. - Northside Bunker - Thursday, Aug 27, 09 @ 7:07 pm:

    Same attitude Scott Fawell had when he worked for the Illinois Tollway back in the 80’s.
    ME! ME! ME!
    Now he wants a cushy TV job, and the Chicago media is stupid enough to give him a plum.
    Go away whiner!

  33. - Proud Dem - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:04 am:

    Falwell and his ilk have helped make Illinois a laughingstock, as has the goofball Blagojevich. Dirty Springfield and Chicago are shameful and we only have scratched the surface of corruption. Abe Lincoln and Paul Simon and all the other honest politicians who have gone to their graves must be spinning in them! Fawell and Lolita were disgusting. I hope they both have to claw to survive.

  34. - Lynn S - Monday, Aug 31, 09 @ 10:54 pm:

    “It was difficult, but I forced myself to watch the entire interview. The unbelievable approach taken by Fawell is that he is trying to paint himself as the victim here. The victim of the unscrupulous tactics of a relentless prosecuter who will stop at nothing to corner his prey even if it means violating the sanctity of the bond of love between a man and his wonderful women.”

    Don’t forget–that “wonderful woman” was married to another man at the same time she and Scottie were cooing sweet nothings into a tapped phone line for the Feds. Is it possible that the 2nd marriage hasn’t occurred not because of lack of money $$$, but because each knows the other will cheat again, given an opportunity?

    “tragic love story”, my @$$!!! I can’t believe Marin did such a lousy interview, although I think she tried to make up for it in her Sunday column. Unfortunately, I’ve lost a lot of respect for Carol Marin after this episode. >:-(

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed until Tuesday
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