Friday, May 07, 2010

Metra's Pagano struck and killed by train

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Metra Executive Director Philip A. Pagano, who has been under investigation for financial misconduct, was struck and killed by a Metra train in Crystal Lake, Ill., Friday morning. 

phil-pagano.jpgThe Crystal Lake police are conducting an investigation into Pagano’s death, which at this point has not officially been ruled either an accident or a suicide. However, McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren said the death “appears to be a suicide.”

Metra released the following statement from its Board of Directors:

“It is with great sadness that we report the passing this morning of Philip A. Pagano.

“Phil served this agency with distinction for many years. Today, we shall remember the good work he achieved with our board of directors and the men and women of Metra. He was dedicated to our passengers and he always considered the men and women of Metra his family. There is a tremendous sense of loss within the agency.

“We shall remember him as a dedicated husband, father and grandfather who loved his family more than anyone. Our deepest sympathies as well as our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family and all those who loved him.”

Pagano, 60, who ran Metra for 20 years, was placed on administrative leave last week after it was alleged that he paid himself an unauthorized $56,000 bonus last year, on top of his $270,000 salary. The Metra board hired a lawyer to investigate the alleged misappropriation, and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) had called for a federal DOT investigation. Yesterday, the Cook County State’s Attorney announced it would launch a criminal investigation into Pagano’s finances.