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Preckwinkle asks her Metra Board appointee to step down over residency

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle  |  Sun-Times files

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle | Sun-Times files

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Updated: September 17, 2013 8:07AM

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle asked a Metra Board member to step down Wednesday after learning his current address did not meet residency requirements.

Stanley Rakestraw lives in Chicago. His position requires him to live in suburban Cook County.

Preckwinkle, who appointed Rakestraw, issued the following statement: “When Stan Rakestraw applied for the position, he listed a Flossmoor address. Since he no longer resides in suburban Cook County, he is ineligible to serve as my appointment on Metra. As soon as I was notified of this fact, I requested Stan Rakestraw’s resignation.”

Preckwinkle spokeswoman Kristen Mack said Wednesday evening that Rakestraw had yet to issue his resignation. Asked when it would come, Mack said, “I hope tomorrow.”

Rakestraw, who founded a company that contracts with PACE to transport people with disabilities for the suburban bus agency, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Preckwinkle requested the resignation after the Chicago Tribune raised questions about Rakestraw’s residency.

There are 11 seats on the Metra board. Rakestraw would be the fifth board member to resign the scandal-plagued suburban rail agency, leaving only six members on the board — the bare minimum it needs to conduct business.

The string of board resignations began shortly after former Metra CEO Alex Clifford leveled patronage allegations against the agency in July. Clifford claimed he was forced out of his job after refusing to comply to the patronage requests of House Speaker Mike Madigan and others. He was awarded a severance package worth up to $718,000, which one board member called hush money due to a confidentiality clause tied to the deal.

Clifford, however, was obliged to break his silence when he testified before the Regional Transportation Authority.

Contributing: Rosalind Rossi

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