Political Patronage Allegations
10:23 am
Fri July 19, 2013

Metra Could Hire Former Federal Prosecutor For Buyout Probe

Patrick Collins
Patrick Collins
Credit perkinscoie.com

Metra is considering hiring a former assistant U.S. attorney to investigate allegations that prominent politicians pressured staff in personnel and contract decisions.

The public agency's board of directors will vote Monday on whether to approve hiring Patrick Collins, who prosecuted the case that sent former Gov. George Ryan to prison for corruption.

The allegations involving Metra emerged during inquiries into a lucrative buyout for former CEO Alex Clifford.

Clifford says he was forced out of the agency for resisting pressure from House Speaker Michael Madigan and others over jobs and construction contracts.

Madigan says he recommended a Metra employee for a pay raise but backed off after learning Clifford was uncomfortable about his involvement.

The employee was a contributor to campaigns benefiting the Speaker.

State legislators are also investigating.