Metra Officials Seek Distance from Pagano Fiasco

By Phil Rogers
|  Wednesday, Dec 8, 2010  |  Updated 11:00 AM CDT
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Metra Officials Seek Distance from Pagano Fiasco

Chicago Sun-Times

Pagano's Suicide Note | Former Metra Executive Director Phil Pagano left a note before committing suicide by stepping in front of a train. The note expressed Pagano's apologies and said he "loved" Metra.

Officials at Metra are doing their best to distance themselves from the latest scandalous revelations concerning their former executive director.

After Philip Pagano took his own life by stepping in front of a speeding Metra train last May, it was revealed that he had fraudulently taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in pay advances from the commuter agency.

This week, statements from the bankruptcy court where his widow is attempting to hang onto $500,000 in insurance, indicated that Pagano had secretly been maintaining "two other households". 

Mrs. Pagano's lawyer did not elaborate on what those living arrangements entailed. I didn't know anything about this," Metra chairman Carole Dorris said Wednesday morning.  "These matters that have affected Metra in the last seven months have been described as a public corruption case, and clearly it's not. It's been unfortunately, the story of a troubled man who misappropriated funds from his employer. In this case, the employer was a public agency, Metra."

Dorris said the agency continues to look at any management issues which would have allowed Pagano to so freely avail himself of vast sums of public money, on account of these actions by a troubled employee, who had erected serious smokescreens around what he was doing, to obviously hide what was going on.

But she made clear that the Metra board has no intention of getting involved, in what may be unfolding as a rather lurid tale of Pagano's private life, and where all of that money may have been going. Metra's taking care of Metra's business, she said, which is running a railroad.

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