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FBI Files Shed Light On Late Metra CEO’s Secret Life

tafoya250 Bernie Tafoya
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Recently disclosed FBI files might answer the question of why late Metra executive Phil Pagano allegedly stole nearly a half million dollars from the commuter rail agency, before ultimately taking his own life.

WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports FBI documents first made public by the Better Government Association suggest he embezzled $475,000 from Metra to pay for extramarital affairs with a few women, and to pay off his father’s mortgage and bills for his father’s hospice care.

Pagano, 60, committed suicide nearly four years ago by stepping in front of a Metra train, after his secret life began unraveling.

McHenry County Sheriff’s detectives found suicide notes, including one intended for his wife, written on the back of checking account statements.

One of Pagano’s girlfriends told the FBI he claimed he was in such bad financial shape, he dropped his country club membership.

Two of his girlfriends said they met Pagano on eHarmony, where he portrayed himself as single.

The documents noted Pagano’s biggest fear was his family would discover his secrets, and hate him.

“What the documents show is really a guy who was out of control and an organization that was affectively out of control, too,” Robert Herguth, the BGA’s editor of investigations, tells CBS 2’s Brad Edwards. “People at the top were either not doing what they were supposed to be doing, like Pagano — or asleep at the switch — the board.”

Metra’s new CEO, Don Orseno, says there are safeguards in place to prevent the types of abuses that occurred during Pagano’s tenure.