Former Metra CEO alleges misconduct

Published 07/17 2013 09:57PM

Updated 07/18 2013 11:31AM

CHICAGO -- Illinois politics are coming under the microscope again. This time, it involves a Chicago rail line. WCIA-3's Steve Staeger says it's important, because tax dollars help pay for it.

The former head of Metra says House Speaker Mike Madigan asked for a favor. When he didn't comply, he lost his job, and the transit agency paid him a lot to keep quiet.

Metra is a train network transporting people from the Chicagoland area into the city. It's a transit agency that gets state funding; funding that's helping pay a $700,000 severance package to Alex Clifford.

Clifford says he lost his job as CEO of Metra, allegedly because of Madigan. According to Clifford, Madigan was asking for a pay raise for one of his political workers.

Clifford refused to give the man a raise, and continued to refuse as Madigan allegedly pressured more. Soon, Clifford was forced out of his job, with a six-figure severance.

Brad O'Halloran, the Chairman of Metra's Board says Clifford's story is bogus. "We categorically deny everything Clifford alleges."

But if Clifford's story isn't true, then why the big payoff? The state's Inspector General is now investigating whether political pressure broke the law, and a local board is looking into whether that severance is tax dollars well spent.

As for Speaker Madigan, he says he was just asking for the raise because that worker's supervisor recommended it.

Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.