07/26/2013 01:41 pm ET

Metra Scandal: Madigan Ally At Center Of Patronage Allegations Was Collecting City Pension


It turns out the man at the center of the Metra patronage scandal was receiving a sizable city pension at the same time he asked House Speaker Mike Madigan for help securing a raise for his post at the embattled rail agency.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported Thursday evening that Patrick Ward was already getting a Chicago taxpayer-subsidized city pension of at least $52,700-a-year in 2009, when the Madigan campaign worker asked the powerful Democrat to help him get an increase on his Metra salary of $57,000.

Madigan then proceeded to ask ex-Metra CEO Alex Clifford to boost Ward's pay, which Clifford refused to do -- an action he claimed in a fiery memo led to his demise and eventual ousting at the agency. Ward volunteered on Madigan's behalf and donated $16,525 to either the House Speaker or his daughter Lisa Madigan's campaign funds between 1999 and 2012.

Madigan claims he did nothing wrong, the Sun-Times reports. Madigan has asked for the Illinois General Assembly's Ethics Commission to investigate his actions amid the scandal, the Chicago Tribune reports. Two other Chicago-area democrats -- state Reps. Luis Arroyo and Elizabeth Hernandez -- will also be investigated for allegedly interfering with Metra personnel issues.

Ward, whose annual income including a state salary of $69,996 and two pensions is now $130,740, ended up getting a double-digit pay hike via a "special salary adjustment" after leaving Metra, according to the Associated Press.