According to local newspapers, James E. Ryan, 50, of 11 Crickett Way, Franklin, remains jailed after failing to pay the last $9,675 of the more than $35,000 in restitution he was ordered to pay in 1992 after pleading guilty to four counts of forgery and two counts of passing bad checks.
Franklin police arrested Ryan, who represents Franklin and Hill in the state House, last week on a warrant issued by Carroll County Superior Court for failure to pay restitution. Dennis Robinson, superintendent of the Carroll County Department of Corrections, confirmed that Ryan remained jailed as of Tuesday in lieu of $9,675 cash bail.
The Concord Monitor, which has been following Ryan’s case, indicated that Ryan was chairman of Joe Biden’s failed New Hampshire presidential campaign. As I reported elsewhere on A Rake’s Progress, Biden received 638 votes during the New Hampshire primary and approximately 9,000 out of some 40 million total votes cast.
According to the the Laconia Citizen and other local reports, Ryan has a lengthy criminal record that involves three states.
A review of court records shows that Ryan is no stranger to the criminal justice system and that his legal woes date back some 15 years. In a January 2001 motion filed by then-New Hampshire Attorney General Philip McLaughlin seeking to impose a suspended sentence against Ryan, the prosecution detailed that the defendant had passed the Connecticut bar. He practiced law in the city of Danbury, Conn., and served two terms on the City Council and one term on the Board of Education.
In 1986, he was convicted in Connecticut of one count of larceny and one count of issuing a bad check. In 1988, he was convicted of forgery.
Records indicate he surrendered his license to practice law and moved to Massachusetts. Between 1988 and 1993, Ryan was convicted of several crimes, including larceny, larceny by false pretenses, larceny by check and the unauthorized practice of law.
From the Monitor:
Ryan’s arrest Friday shocked those who knew him as a tireless Franklin booster, a policy wonk and a prominent member of the state’s Democratic Party. Ryan, 50 and serving his second term, chaired the House Transportation Committee and the recent New Hampshire presidential campaign of Sen. Joe Biden.
Before his arrest, Ryan was also teaching public policy at New England College and political science at Keene State College. But a review of state and county court records yesterday stood at odds with the public face Ryan has put forward in New Hampshire.
According to the Monitor, Ryan admitted that he had entered a personal and professional relationship with Andrea J. Curtin, a real estate agent with an office in the town of Weare. The state charged that Ryan falsely represented himself to Curtin as a Bay State attorney specializing in taxation and offered to manage her business accounts and personal finances. On Sept. 12, 1991, Ryan issued checks in the amount of $1,166,50 and $2,670.08 from Curtin’s business account pursuant to her obligations arising from certain real estate closings. The checks were returned for insufficient funds because of the defendant’s “self-serving mismanagement of her accounts,” the state charged.
The Citizen adds that In 1986, he was convicted in Connecticut of one count of larceny and one count of issuing a bad check. In 1988, he was convicted of forgery. Records indicate he surrendered his license to practice law and moved to Massachusetts. Between 1988 and 1993, Ryan was convicted of several crimes, including larceny, larceny by false pretenses, larceny by check and the unauthorized practice of law.
He later moved to Freedom, a small town in Carroll County near the Maine border, and he subsequently was convicted in the Ossipee and Conway district courts on charges of issuing bad checks.
In arguing for the suspended sentence to be imposed, the state charged that Ryan has run a “clandestine” law office and posed as a lawyer while working as a clerk at a Manchester law firm. His parole officer also found a yellow page listing Ryan allegedly placed, advertising his legal services in Vermont.
In February 1994, one month after he was paroled from the New Hampshire State Prison, Ryan took a position as a paralegal and law clerk with the law offices of Jean-Claude Sakellarios and Associates. He was hired under the express conditions that he was not to represent himself to any of the firm’s clients as an attorney licensed to practice law in the state or anywhere else. His duties were expressly restricted to legal research and the drafting of forms and legal documents for review by the firm’s lawyers. After a long list of infractions involving the alleged misrepresentation to the firm’s clients and allegedly accepting funds from “clients” unknown to the firm, Attorney Sakellarios terminated Ryan’s employment in September 1994, the state charged.
The Associated Press also reports today that a New Hampshire state senator and a House colleague of jailed state Rep. Jim Ryan are calling on him to resign.
The Franklin, N.H., Democrat was arrested last week for violating a court order that he repay thousands of dollars from a fraud case. Court records also show he has a criminal record in three states dating back to the 1980s.
Senator Peter Burling of Cornish and Representative Leigh Webb of Franklin, both Democrats, say it is shocking to see the entirety of the legal trouble confronting Ryan and his family.
Burling and Webb say Ryan should step down so he can direct his energy to resolving his legal situation and caring for his family.
Governor John Lynch also has said Ryan should step down.
Ryan attended Fairfield University, a Jesuit college located in Fairfield, Connecticut, and received his law degree from St John’s University School of Law. In light of criticisms by Democrats about the background check Republicans performed before selecting Sarah Palin as their vice presidential candidate, the Ryan case calls into question Biden’s judgment and his due diligence in selecting someone with such a long criminal record to manage his New Hampshire campaign.