Metra: Trouble on the tracks
Read ongoing Tribune reports on the political fallout from the ousting of Metra CEO Alex Clifford.
6:50 PM CDT, September 4, 2014
The costs associated with Metra's controversial 2013 settlement with ousted CEO Alex Clifford totaled about $1.3 million, with about half going to outside lawyers, officials said Thursday.
9:50 PM CDT, July 28, 2014
The state's top watchdog issued the results Monday of two investigations at Metra, including a case that found a long-standing practice of falsifying work logs intended to ensure safety by limiting train crews' hours.
August 15, 2013
Metra board member Stanley Rakestraw has been asked to resign, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's office said late Wednesday, following inquiries by the Tribune about Rakestraw's eligibility and residency.
7:00 AM CDT, August 2, 2013
Embattled Metra Chairman Brad O'Halloran has resigned his post, becoming the third board member to quit amid allegations of political back-scratching at the commuter rail agency.
August 2, 2013
After pressuring a Metra contractor to hire more African-American companies for a crucial South Side rail project, U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush recommended that the commuter rail agency pay $50,000 to a little-known Washington, D.C., group to monitor minority participation.
9:13 PM CDT, July 30, 2013
A second Metra board member has resigned in the wake of the controversy over the $718,000 severance package awarded to the agency's ousted CEO and the furor over patronage allegations involving House Speaker Michael Madigan.
6:16 AM CDT, July 13, 2013
Former Metra CEO Alex Clifford contends his refusal to capitulate to House Speaker Michael Madigan's patronage demands angered some agency board members and ultimately led to his downfall, according to a memorandum obtained by the Tribune.
12:28 PM CDT, July 13, 2013
When Metra CEO Alex Clifford asked about his chances for keeping his job, he received a bruising reply from the rail agency's board chairman, according to a memo that offers a snapshot of political clout as allegedly practiced in Illinois.
4:42 PM CDT, July 12, 2013
Alex Clifford's memo to the Metra board
July 12, 2013
A state legislative hearing investigating the severance package for Metra's ousted CEO yielded new details about the controversial deal Thursday, including the revelation that powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan had asked the agency to give one of his political foot soldiers a raise.
7:27 AM CDT, July 11, 2013
Ousted Metra CEO Alex Clifford implicated at least two board members in a patronage complaint shortly before he began negotiating a generous severance package with the commuter rail system, officials publicly acknowledged for the first time Wednesday.
9:23 PM CDT, July 9, 2013
Metra's chairman, under fire for giving a cushy severance package to the agency's top executive, on Tuesday criticized Alex Clifford's leadership and said the ousted CEO only leveled corruption allegations after learning his contract might not be renewed.
July 4, 2013
State lawmakers who are demanding that Metra officials explain a $740,000 severance deal for the agency's former CEO and the secrecy cloaking the reasons for his departure have scheduled a hearing on the matter for next week.
July 3, 2013
The Regional Transportation Authority will have the first shot next week at breaking the secrecy concerning Metra's decision to grant its departed CEO a controversial $740,000 severance deal.
9:11 PM CDT, June 24, 2013
The severance agreement negotiated between Metra and former CEO Alex Clifford, paying him as much as $740,000 to leave the agency before the end of his contract, pledges both sides to secrecy.
June 30, 2013
One is a labor lawyer. Another heads a company that sells firefighting equipment. One runs a construction company.
6:22 PM CDT, June 29, 2013
The controversy over Metra's approval of a $740,000 severance package for its ousted CEO has cast a harsh spotlight on the commuter rail agency's little-known board of directors.
June 26, 2013
Two state representatives are pressing Metra's board to explain why it approved a severance agreement that could pay the commuter rail agency's departed CEO as much as $740,000.
June 23, 2013
Metra's board spent about 10 months screening 40 candidates during a nationwide search before selecting Los Angeles native Alex Clifford to be the commuter rail agency's CEO in February 2011.
11:56 AM CDT, June 22, 2013
Metra CEO Alex Clifford, the former Marine brought in to clean up the agency after the scandal and suicide of former boss Phil Pagano, resigned Friday, leaving with a potential $740,000 payout after protracted buyout negotiations with the commuter rail agency’s board.
12:55 PM CDT, July 16, 2012
Metra's board of directors today approved a $93 million contract for construction of a railroad bridge on the south side that three congressmen had threatened to block because they said it would not provide enough jobs to African-Americans in the economically depressed neighborhood.
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