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Article updated: 9/20/2013 7:01 PM

Metra releasing confidential files to state investigators

Jack Partelow

Jack Partelow

 
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After a nearly two-hour executive session Friday, Metra board members voted to release confidential documents to state investigators looking into its latest scandal.

"We're trying to give them as much as we can give them and be cooperative," Acting Chairman Jack Partelow said.

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The agency's been embroiled in controversy since the exit of CEO Alex Clifford in June. He accused two board directors of conflict of interest and of retaliating against him for refusing to support political pressure on hiring and promotions. The two officials -- former Chairman Brad O'Halloran and Director Larry Huggins -- have denied Clifford's claims and blame him for mismanagement at the agency. Both have resigned.

The state's Office of the Executive Inspector General is looking into the allegations as well as an up-to $718,000 separation agreement with Clifford some critics called "hush money."

The decision to release the documents comes after the departure of O'Halloran and of an outside legal firm that was advising him and board members.

Metra's internal legal staff is now advising the board. The releases will include audio recordings from executive sessions and attorney-client communications.

Metra General Counsel Sue Ann Rosen said the release of the attorney-client documents was an "extraordinary departure from previous practices."

"This is an effort to try and move this investigation forward," she said.

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