Clifford: Not Caving Into Political Pressure Cost Job

Jul 18, 2013

Alex Clifford

Metra's former CEO answered questions Wednesday about political patronage and his controversial severance package.

Alex Clifford addressed the Regional Transportation Authority. It oversees Metra. Clifford says Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan made it known that he wanted Clifford to hire one person and give another Metra employee a raise. When asked if the powerful House speaker did anything illegal, Clifford said no.

I think it is a moral and ethical character flaw. Personality flaw. And again, it was my belief that as long as I did not close that loop, by engaging in that activity, that the illegal activity did not take place. - Alex Clifford

A Metra attorney denies Clifford’s claims of impropriety. Neither Clifford nor Metra would call the large severance deal, worth more than 700 thousand dollars,  hush money.

Illinois Public Radio's Yolanda Perdomo contributed to this report.