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Financial Details of Former Metra Chief Emerge, And They Aren't Pretty

By Chuck Sudo in News on Dec 2, 2010 6:46PM

A bankruptcy filing by the widow of former Metra Chief Phil Pagano paints a portrait of a man with enormous debt in need of immediate access to cash, and raises questions about how that all came to be.

The petition filed by Barbara Pagano lists among her assets the couple's Crystal Lake home and a $500,000 life insurance policy. Outside of that, Barbara Pagano has no other means of income. That's all against liabilities of over $1 million, including:

  • A $765,000 claim by a mortgage lender against the Pagano's $340,000 home
  • $256,000 in other liabilities from nearly three dozen creditors ranging from two claims from United Mileage Plus Cardmember Services totaling nearly $50,000 to a $69 claim from Toys "R" Us.

The details of the filing explains to some extent Phil Pagano's need for cash in the months leading to his May suicide. Phil Pagano borrowed heavily from a deferred compensation program and wound up owing Metra $127,000 at the time of his suicide. His earnings totaled more than $1 million this year, leading the court-appointed bankruptcy attorney to express surprise as to why it wasn't listed in the petition.

Barbara Pagano was awarded an $80,000 annual pension from Metra in October as a survivor's benefit.