State Representative Jack Franks, an outspoken critic of Metra, says he has no knowledge about where hundreds of thousands of dollars in transit agency dollars may have gone, despite the fact that his law firm represents the wife of the man accused of siphoning those dollars from public coffers.
Former Metra chief Philip Pagano killed himself last May, in the face of certain dismissal for allegedly taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in improper advances on his vacation. During the course of an ensuing bankruptcy proceeding, the lawyer representing Pagano’s wife Barbara told a Rockford judge, that Pagano had been supporting “two other households”. He did not reveal the nature of those relationships.
The trustee in the bankruptcy case, attorney Steven Balsley, planned to put Barbara Pagano under oath today, in an attempt to determine, among other things, the identity of those other households. But Balsley says Pagano has now agreed to satisfy $26,000 in outstanding debt, and that the examination was canceled.
It is unclear how, if ever, hundreds of thousands of dollars in debts previously attributed to Philip Pagano may be satisfied. At the time of his suicide, it was estimated Pagano was over a million dollars in debt.
An attorney at the firm representing Mrs. Pagano, Steven Greeley, refused to comment on her end of the case. “You will get all of our information when it becomes public record,” Greeley said.
Even though he is a named partner in that firm, Franks, Gerkin, and McKenna, Representative Franks, who has called for the ouster of the entire Metra board, said he had no idea what Mrs. Pagano might know about where the Metra dollars ended up.
“I’ve never seen the file,” Franks said. “I don’t do bankruptcy law. Mrs. Pagano’s not my client.”
Franks admitted that he continues to seek the removal of the transit agency’s board, which he has consistently maintained failed in its oversight of Pagano.