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State

Legal fees climb for Metra as problems linger

CHICAGO – A published report says Metra's spent more than $250,000 through June to cover legal fees.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the embattled transit agency has hired three outside law firms, along with a mediator and a crisis strategy firm.

The newspaper says the figures come from heavily redacted documents it obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

Metra's been embroiled in legal problems since ousted CEO Alex Clifford left with a $718,000 separation agreement. He's said he was forced out of the agency for resisting pressure from House Speaker Michael Madigan and others over jobs and construction contracts.

That's sparked a state investigation.

At least one Illinois lawmaker says the legal fees, which began accumulating in early March, are an abuse of taxpayer money.

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