Metra has copy of Clifford investigation

Metra has revealed that it has a written report of an investigation into the claims of former executive director Alex Clifford.

Clifford left the transit agency last June, alleging impropriety on the part of certain Metra board members and Illinois legislators. His allegations resulted in five board members, including the chairman, resigning.

After Clifford detailed his charges to Metra's board last April, the board asked attorney Rodger Heaton, of the law firm Hinshaw & Culbertson (H&C), to investigate. (Metra has a contract with H&C for it to provide miscellaneous legal services.)

Metra claimed that Heaton gave the agency only an oral, not written, report of his findings.

Now, according to spokesman Michael Gillis, Metra has "a draft of Mr. Heaton's report"—which, Gillis said via e-mail, Metra is preparing to give to the state's executive inspector general.

As Inside Chicago Government reported earlier, the inspector general's office is conducting its own investigation into the Clifford affair.

Metra staff got the okay to release Heaton's material after the September 20 meeting of Metra's board of directors. At that meeting, the board waived its attorney-client privilege with Hinshaw & Culbertson.

The Metra board directed the agency's acting general counsel, Sue-Ann Rosen, to decide on the complete package of material that Metra should turn over to the inspector general.

Spokesman Gillis said that he's not aware that Metra will make Heaton's report public.