SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Another suicide?

Friday, May 7, 2010

* This is becoming a deeply disturbing pattern in Illinois politics

Metra’s longtime executive director, Phil Pagano, apparently walked in front of a Metra train in Crystal Lake this morning, killing himself, sources said.

Pagano was on paid administrative leave from Metra, where he had been executive director since 1990, and had worked for the agency since its creation in 1984.

The fatal collision occurred on the tracks near Hillside and Terra Cotta roads by Sternes Woods Park in Crystal Lake.

“It appears to be a suicide,” Sheriff Keith Nygren said. Nygren would not confirm the identity of the victim.

The sheriff said there appeared to be no car near the train tracks, and that the victim appeared to walk on them.

Orlando Jones, Chris Kelly, Michael Scott and now maybe Pagano. All under corruption investigation.

Chicago Magazine, by the way, has a long, disturbing profile of Chris Kelly. It’s not online yet, but the author was interviewed by Chicago Tonight. Go have a look.

And let’s keep it toned down in comments, please.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - anon - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 10:49 am:

    Its sad anytime a person takes one’s own life. I wish that people would consider the consequences of their actions before it reaches the point where suicide becomes the answer. So sad.

  2. - Leave a light on George - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 10:54 am:

    Can’t help but wonder how dark the secrets are that went to the grave with these folks.

  3. - WiseGuy - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 10:58 am:

    I know its tempting to speculate, but there will plenty of grave digging in the weeks and months ahead. Let’s just hold off on that a bit, please. No matter what you think or know about the guy, this is just too sad.

  4. - Aldyth - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 11:03 am:

    Deepest sympathies to his family.

  5. - siriusly - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 11:05 am:

    You decide to take your own life, okay. But why step in front of a train? Essentially causing the train driver to kill you. ABC7 did a piece on those guys last year, some of them are so emotionally scarred from the incidents they can’t continue working. Surely this person knew that.

    I wonder what the rest of this story is. I assume that there’s more there there.

  6. - dth - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 11:10 am:

    My sympathies are with his family, but what a sad and stupid act that will affect the driver of that train profoundly. I am speechless.

  7. - wordslinger - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 11:12 am:

    Stepping in front of a Metra train? That’s incredibly chilling.

    There’s was an ominous tone to this story from the get-go.

  8. - 10th Indy - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 11:13 am:

    How terribly sad. Will keep his family, the engineer, crew and thier families in my prayers along with Phil.

  9. - Amalia - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 11:26 am:

    Rich, this pattern was exactly what came to mind when I heard the horrible news on the radio. Thanks for pointing it out.

    Sympathies especially to the entire Metra family, and specifically because of the way he chose to end his life. Absolutely chilling and quite disturbing.

    the system is becoming a suicide machine. Please, some health official step up and talk about the human cost of corruption.

  10. - Wumpus - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 11:39 am:

    My prayers for the train

    Suicide is selfish. He didn’t even think of the trauma he’d cause the Metra guy at the controls

  11. - wonder boy - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 11:55 am:

    IRONY? There are many ways to take your life, this desperate last act of his life was to take Metra with him? Me? I’m praying for the train engineer.

  12. - Vibes - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 12:01 pm:

    His family and Metra are in my prayers. He was a very, very quirky guy — but he more than anyone else built Metra, the good, the bad, and the technologically archaic. But never in a million years would I have expected this. So sad.

  13. - Bring Back Boone's - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 12:03 pm:

    Does anyone else find it incredibly ironic that it was a Metra train?

  14. - Jim - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 12:09 pm:

    Sympathies to all involved, but as far as the grave-digging we don’t know if all the facts will ever come out. It seems the Michael Scott investigation is over with many unanswered questions.

  15. - South of Sherman - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 12:09 pm:

    BBB — I was just thinking that. It’s poetic, in a very perverse sort of way.

  16. - Bring Back Boone's - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 12:11 pm:

    Couldn’t agree more

  17. - DuPage Dave - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 12:32 pm:

    His passing does not resolve the financial issues that came to light recently. What are the fiscal controls at Metra that allow an executive to pay himself for as-yet-unearned vacation time? Don’t they have a controller or someone who ought to have prevented this?

  18. - Secret Square - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 12:34 pm:

    If you have a sensitive stomach I’d strongly suggest avoiding the Trib website for the time being due to its (IMO unneccesarily) graphic, close-in overhead shot of the scene. The Sun-Times also has a lot of utterly tasteless and appalling reader comments posted under its story. Way to go media folks. My sympathies to the family, Metra, and anyone else impacted by this.

  19. - KeepSmiling - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 12:50 pm:

    This is so sad, I can’t stand it. I’m so sorry for Phil Pagano’s family and friends, Bill Tupper and the other Metra staff members, the Metra Board, and for Phil — who had a big heart and was incredibly effective as Metra’s Executive Director. His career and life should not have ended this way. It’s just so sad.

  20. - cassandra - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 1:06 pm:

    I’m sorry about the human tragedy but I agree with
    DuPage Dan, always assuming the allegations were true, of course. Where were the fiscal controls.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of officials in a lot of different types of workplaces are tempted to break the rules. For amazingly small amounts, too. I’ll pay it back, they say to themselves, or, I’ll fix it before anybody notices. Crazy thinking, that doesn’t usually lead to suicide. It’s also common human weakness and one of the many advantages to good controls is to prevent good people from doing something stupid.

    And of course, sympathies to the Metra engineer.
    Even though they are blameless in these situations, I’m sure it tears them up.

  21. - cassandra - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 1:07 pm:

    Sorry, I mean, DuPage Dave.

  22. - jerry 101 - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 1:28 pm:

    @ Cassandra

    As an auditor, I can tell you that, whether or not fiscal controls were there for Joe Schmo, it’s a different story for top management. Top management always has the power to override controls. All it takes is Pagano walking up to a person in payroll and telling them to print him an extra paycheck for however much money. A payroll clerk isn’t going to say no to the boss and lose his/her job.

    I would ask where was the Board when it came to exercising their fiduciary duty to oversee how Metra was spending its money. There are a lot of other questions that should be asked as well, but out of respect, I’ll keep my silence.

    My condolences and prayers to Mr. Pagano’s family, and my heartfelt prayers to the driver and other people directly affected by his death.

  23. - Responsa - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 1:34 pm:

    Metra put out a very nice piece about how the Metra organization is in mourning and how much Pagano cared about Metra, its employees and the customers it serves. Putting aside completely any of the allegations of financial irregularities, it is hard to reconcile the cruel way he dragged Metra, its employees, and passengers into the picture when he apparently chose to end his life this morning–thus further devastating both his biological family and his Metra family.

  24. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 1:37 pm:

    I met Pagano a few years ago and have had several dealings with his agency. Thought he was a good guy…but, as always there is so much that we don’t know in these type of affairs. As others have expressed, deepest sympathies to those most affected by this tragic death.

    This also hits home for me because my mom tried to do a similar thing in a similar way a long time ago, but she miraculously survived. At the same location as the recent tragic incident with Ms. Lunn. Fortunately, there were many more Mother’s Days after that dark period.

  25. - dupage progressive - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 1:37 pm:

    So sad. Prayers for him & his family & the train crew. How awful & yes, an ironic story. And the idea that sometimes circumstances of death often reflect details of how they lived, comes to mind. Jeez. Eerie.

  26. - A.B. - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 1:39 pm:

    What a horrible situation. My deepest condolences to his friends and family as they work through this tragedy.

  27. - Personickety - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 1:41 pm:

    Responsa you are right on target.

  28. - Bubs - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 1:49 pm:

    The train was his choice, not an irony. Who can really know, but I suspect it was some sort of gesture towards METRA and the Board that was about to terminate his career.

    Why do they choose suicide? Perhaps a combination of knowing that the Feds rarely fail to get their man; that repeated public humiliation in the press is certain; that they would be forced to talk eventually, and that by taking secrets to the grave their families might find support after they are gone, which would not be likely once they talked, and pleaded guilty.

  29. - Naperville - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 1:49 pm:

    Its sad when people do reach this conclusion, to end it all. Adding another point to this however is that of the people mentioned by Rich, I happened to know two very well. Although, I wish not to mention their names, I do believe that the mental health from publicly mentioned as a possible felon makes these people do what they do. Whatever, the Metra Director was alleged to have done or didn’t do, the public perception is that he was already convicted of public opinion. I truly believe that is what leads these people to do what they do. Only a court of law convicts people, not print media or anything else. If this individual was even found not guilty, is already was by the public because of the current state of affairs in Illinois. This is why the pattern is occurring today and if these people were thrown overboard by “higher ups” due to the mere fact that they choose to work within a system that has gone corrupt, is truly sad. God Rest his Soul!

  30. - Cousin Ralph - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 2:01 pm:

    My prayers for the family. When do reasonable minds start to conclude that these events are no longer coincidence. The “Chicago Way” exacts a huge toll, maybe its time to opt for a different path.

  31. - dupage dan - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 2:11 pm:

    I find it hard to have sympathy for those who choose such a path. Since his family likely didn’t choose it with him I do feel for them. I have read about how those at the switch on trains are affected by such an action. It is hard to think that Pagano didn’t know about that as well, as long a time as he had at that agency. That is what angers me the most. Such disregard for someone else is not inexcusable.

  32. - Siriusly - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 2:27 pm:

    Cousin Ralph
    I’m sure you wanted “chicago way” to mean self enriching public corruption. Right?
    Too many of us work in the public service and political fields and are honest ethical and hard working. Don’t paint me with that brush please.

  33. - zatoichi - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 2:36 pm:

    Been down the same road in the past. Your thinking gets so odd nothing makes sense. You can put on a great front, but your brain is just going 100 mph and it just gets overwhelming. Impulsive or long planned is irrelevant. No matter what the cause/reason, it gets very hard to pull yourself back in line to what most people think is the ’sensible solution’. Feel sad for the family, co-workers, and the people directly involved at the scene.

  34. - MrJM - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 2:40 pm:

    Killing yourself is one thing, killing yourself in a manner that traumatizes an entire train crew of Metra employees is selfish and cowardly.

    [The remainder of profane and derogatory comments have been self-censored in the interests of keeping it “toned down.”]

    – MrJM

  35. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 2:55 pm:

    The train was his choice, not an irony

    I agree, if this was indeed a suicide as it appears. If he had inadvertently fell off the platform while waiting for the train that was to take him to the meeting, THAT would have been irony.

    Maybe we will get more insight as to why, and the method. But regardless of whether a note was left or not, the result and the impact on others is still about the same.

  36. - wordslinger - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 3:04 pm:

    Bubs, you are way out of line with your speculation about “taking secrets to the grave” and more.

    It’s a hot story, no doubt, but put a lid on your forecasts of what was going to happen,. unless you have something. Have some respect; there’s plenty of time to sort it out now.

  37. - Western Illinois - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 3:20 pm:

    BBC World News just had this on (580 WILL)
    We are not Greece economically but we are sure not looking good….

  38. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 3:21 pm:

    Well, no kidding we don’t look good. But to say we’re another Greece is just plain ludicrous.

  39. - Anonymous - Friday, May 7, 10 @ 7:08 pm:

    From the Trib:

    “(McHenry Co. Sheriff) Nygren said the engineer spotted Pagano about five to 10 seconds before impact. Pagano was standing in the middle of the tracks, facing the front of train, and the engineer braked but could not stop in time.

    “The engineer looked right into the eyes of the man,” Nygren said.”

    I’m sure those 5 or 10 seconds felt like an eternity to the engineer. I suspect as do DuPageDan and others that Pagano, given his long and close connection to Metra, knew exactly what he was doing. Perhaps he thought of it as some final grand act of defiance. My sympathies to the train crew.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Tonight's must-read
* Tribune to put tower up for sale
* They say that like it's a bad thing
* Exelon Just Received A $1.7 Billion Rate Increase Through The Market-Based Capacity Auction
* Point taken. However...
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Byrd-Bennett indicted by the feds
* Yikes, man
* The Credit Union Difference
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Kotowski bash, event list
* Question of the day
* Dimas: "There's a chance we will have to introduce the FY17 budget before we have an FY16 budget"
* Unclear on the concept
* Rhetoric vs. reality
* Supremes snub Illinois Policy Institute appeal
* Aren't we forgetting something?
* True, but...
* Things are tense all over
* Unclear on the concept
* Rep. Leitch won't run again
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition and a Golar replacement update from AlderTrack
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's blog posts

Visit our advertisers...







Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

* Google Play Promo: EA and Chillingo games for very, very cheap (but for limited regions)
* SIM-free iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus now available from Apple
* PSA: Skype is giving you 20 minutes of free calls to compensate for its recent outage
* AT&T’s 18.4-inch Samsung Galaxy View sighted on FCC
* Sony updates TrackID with new lyric search functionality
* Google Street View updated with support for Cardboard
* OnePlus Mini may come at India event next week

* Foot issue to sideline White Sox prospect Hawkins
* After second base, it was no-go White Sox
* Scouting, player development key for White Sox
* Arbitration-eligible White Sox won't put dent in payroll
* Hawk Harrelson's reduced schedule creates opportunity for White Sox...
* Holliday, Ventura connection goes way back
* 2015 in 3 words: Sale, Abreu, inconsistency


Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0


* Illinois Gov. Rauner ends quarter with $19M in .....
* Democrats warn Illinois could go broke without .....
* Dems warn state could go broke without budget -.....
* Democrats warn Illinois could go broke without .....
* Democrats warn Illinois could go broke without .....

* Democrats warn Illinois could go broke without state budget
* Tribune Media considering sale of landmarked headquarters
* EPA pushes for 'smart thermostats' as way to limit pollution
* Chicago cab driver group calls for 24-hour strike
* Indiana man chose as 1st national Pig Farmer of Year
* 2 Illinois congressmen heading to Cuba on Sunday for ag trip
* EXCHANGE: Sudzy Bath and Biscuits in Anna caters to canines
* Group says interest in Chicago Halloween parade growing
* Impact of Chicago Marathon felt from now to Sunday event
* Chicago Democrats to meet to fill seat of late Rep. Golar

* The Papers of Abraham Lincoln project still in jeopardy; memo paints discouraging picture
* Democrats say Rauner 'needs to get serious' on budget
* Democrats: Illinois could go broke without budget
* Gov. Rauner ends quarter with $19M in campaign fund
* Prosecutors say former Congressman Aaron Schock is 'grandstanding'
* State Rep. David Leitch won't seek re-election
* Rauner to Democrats: 'Time's up' in budget impasse
* Illinois panel OKs medical marijuana for 8 health conditions
* State Sen. McCarter to challenge Shimkus in Congressional primary
* Rauner increasing pressure on Democrats for budget deal

* O'Hare bonds avoid Chicago stain in city's biggest offering ever
* Tribune Media seeks to sell Trib Tower
* Trib Tower for sale
* A champion of women's issues who loves board games
* Cafe Spiaggia got a makeover. Did it need one?

* Charity raffling off Blackhawks Stanley Cup ring
* Sweet: Emanuel says House GOP needs to work through ‘some issues’
* Democrats warn Illinois could go broke without state budget
* Obama returns to Chicago on Oct. 27 for fundraising
* Aldermen complain about ‘menu’ price hikes
* Charges come at rocky time for CPS
* Patrick Kane feels ‘really good’ as he hits the road
* Viktor Svedberg to get his chance on blue line
* Aldermen vent frustrations about city’s losing battle against homelessness
* Blackhawks mailbag: Crawford, Teravainen, Dano and more

* 1 arrested in fatal shooting of civilian worker for Chicago police
* Motorcyclist killed after hitting deer on I-94, being hit by truck
* Supporters of Woodlawn church gutted by fire start fundraising for restoration
* 1 dead, 4 wounded in separate city shootings
* Former Chicago Public Schools chief to plead guilty to bribery scheme
* NIU evacuated, classes canceled following 'bogus' bomb threats to colleges
* Police: Wrigleyville celebrations relatively calm; 9 misdemeanor arrests
* 1 treated following high CO levels at West Side apartment building
* Smart thermostat program could cut energy bills
* New judge to be assigned to second Soderquist case

* The Papers of Abraham Lincoln project still in jeopardy; memo paints discouraging picture
* Mike Lang: 'Racial Taboo' screening will advance local unity efforts
* Democrats say Rauner 'needs to get serious' on budget
* Bernard Schoenburg: Supreme Court refuses to hear Illinois Policy Institute appeal over press access at Statehouse
* Gov. Rauner ends quarter with $19M in campaign fund
* Prosecutors say former Congressman Aaron Schock is 'grandstanding'
* State Rep. David Leitch won't seek re-election
* George Will: Impeach the IRS director
* Eugene Robinson: Obama is right to be cautious on Syria
* Elizabeth Austin: 'Lawsuit climate' no obstacle to business success

* UPDATE: Heavy police presence at Paxton standoff
* UI Men's Basketball Media Day 2015
* Opposing viewpoint: Iowa QB C.J. Beathard
* Illini roundup: Soccer team secures tie
* Big Ten football update: Illini slip into bowl scene
* Thursday's highlights: Danville wins on, off pitch
* Richey's observations from women's hoops media day
* Volleyball team returns to Huff
* Tate: Two sides for hoops storylines
* Seymour man sentenced in connection with puppy's death

* Officials: NIU classes expected to resume Friday after bomb threat
* Officials: Bomb threat causes evacuation at NIU
* Vigil remembers slain man on 21st birthday in Elgin
* In St. Louis some fans worry; others say bring it on
* Suburban business leaders get taste of DuPage hospitality at expo

* House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
* Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
* The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
* Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
* Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
* CBD Oil, and politics
* Simon considering state Senate bid
* Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
* Shutdown? State may not notice
* Rep. Bob Dold

* US Sen. Dick Durbin introduces bill to mak......
* Durbin Proposes Legislation To Lower Textb......

* 2 US senators seek to declare a Fil-Am his......

* #TBT: 4400 Block Of Broadway
* Tribune Tower to join Wrigley Building as not being the same once sold off
* This Is The End...
* Rauner points to 70 Illinois Democrats supported collective bargaining changes
* Rauner points to 70 Illinois Democrats that supported collective bargaining changes
* Dixon police draw criticism over "Gotcha" crime prevention program
* Where's Weyermuller? At Wheeling Township GOP Women's 2015 Luncheon
* Police Chief McCarthy says "There's no magic solution" to ending Chicago violence
* REbarcamp gives Illinois REALTORS 10 ways to learn more from each other
* Peoria's Leitch Won't Seek Re-Election

* Board’s New Rules Will Reduce Risk of Tire Fires and Disease-Carrying Mosquitos
* Illinois Hosts Inaugural Interstate Medical Licensure Compact - Aims to increase health care access through multi-state physician licensure program
* IEMA Announces Elgin Community College Attains ‘Ready to Respond Campus’ Designation - Elgin one of five Illinois campuses to receive distinction
* New Mortgage Loan Interface Increases Efficiency, Compliance
* State Fire Marshal Ushers In Fire Prevention Week - “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep!”

    Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller