Report on Metra chief's death released

May 25, 2010 (CHICAGO)

The 40-page report by the McHenry County Sheriff's Department was obtained through a Freedom of Information Request. The report includes a suicide note and reports a meeting Pagano had with a longtime friend the night before he ended his life.

Shortly before he stepped in front of a Metra train on May 7, Pagano called his friend Al Jourdan. As Jourdan later related to sheriff's investigators, Pagano said, "I can't take this anymore." Pagano gave Jourdan instructions on where he could find his car and its keys.

Investigators would later find a note addressed to the Metra board and its chairman, Carole Doris, in Pagano's home. In it, Pagano wrote that he was deeply sorry. "With the exception of this one mistake, I have always done things the honest and right way. I hope that you believe me.

"On my dying breath, you need to know this. I love Metra. I gave it my all - heart and soul."

The note contains no explanation as to why Pagano, for nearly 20 years, had exchanged vacation time for nearly half a million dollars in payments in violation of Metra policy. Pagano was to be fired the day he took his life.

In his note, Pagano wrote, "What I do is not to take the easy way out. It is to end all this madness for all concerned. Most of all it is to put an end to all the suffering that my family, you and the staff are going through."

Pagano also wrote "I have nothing to lie about. All this stuff dealing with the federal inquiry is all wrong."

Nonetheless, multiple investigations - including a federal one - are underway. Days before his death, when asked what he was doing with the extra money he forged a signature to get, Pagano declined to answer --except to say it was nothing illegal or immoral.

In his note, he asked that all he'd earned through pension, medical benefits and life insurance go to his family.

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