Conflicted? Metra Heavy Claims ‘Rules’ Justify Questionable Campaign Contributions

Metra board member James V. Dodge (Photo/Village of Orland Park, Ill.)

Metra board member Jim Dodge says he followed all the rules in his failed run for Illinois comptroller earlier this year.

But maybe the rules need to be changed.

We’ve already documented how he received campaign contributions from folks doing business with the commuter rail agency that he helps oversee.

Now we came across another donation that’s raising questions.

This past January, Dodge—also a village trustee in Orland Park—accepted a $1,000 campaign contribution from attorney Kevin Durkin.

Durkin works with one of the big dogs of personal injury law in Chicago, Bob Clifford, whose firm (with Durkin often as a plaintiff attorney) has filed a dozen lawsuits against Metra since 2005.

Many of the suits involve alleged negligence by Metra; some are cases of pedestrians getting killed at crossings by Metra trains.

Reached on the phone, Durkin said his donation had nothing to do with Metra. He lives in the south suburbs and likes the way Dodge and other Orland Park leaders run the community, he said.

That makes sense.

But on Dodge’s end, does it make sense to accept money from someone involved in litigation against Metra, no matter the circumstances?

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