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Report: Pagano Took $475,000 From Metra

By Marcus Gilmer in News on May 14, 2010 9:40PM

Metra today released a report on its investigation into improprieties by former chief Phil Pagano who committed suicide last week by stepping in front of a Metra train. According to the report, Pagano took over $475,000 in vacation pay and twice forged the name of the Metra's chairwoman, Carole Doris, on memos. The report, written by special counsel James Sotos, noted, "This investigation revealed substantial evidence of financial irregularities and abuses carried out by a person at the highest level of Metra who, as a result of that position, was in the best position to perpetrate these acts." An investigation has been opened by the Cook County State's attorney office and the attorney general office claims they will also open an investigation.

Metra's board suspended Pagano with pay April 30 after Doris learned Pagano had obtained an unauthorized $56,000 "bonus" atop his $269,625 salary. Metra does not pay bonuses.

Sources had said Sotos' probe focused on whether Pagano used Doris' name without authorization to draw advances.

According to the summary released today, Pagano had also devised several complex financial agreements with Metra totaling about $1 million and borrowed about $839,000 against them. At his death, Pagano still owed Metra $127,000.

Pagano had been chief exec of the commuter rail agency for 20 years. He was laid to rest on Wednesday.