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Settlement gives ex-Metrolink spokeswoman $135,000

Metrolink agreed to pay a former spokeswoman who resigned in the aftermath of last year’s Chatsworth train crash $135,000 to settle potential claims against the agency, according to a copy of the agreement obtained Tuesday.

Denise Tyrrell, who recently was hired to manage the state Public Utilities Commission’s Los Angeles office, was the public face of the commuter rail agency in the grim early hours after the disaster that killed 25 and injured 135.

She resigned within days after being criticized by some Metrolink officials and federal investigators for announcing that a preliminary investigation had found that the Metrolink engineer ran a red light. Investigators have since said the same thing.

Tyrrell argued that Metrolink Chief Executive David R. Solow had agreed to the planned announcement. Some board members criticized the statements as premature, while other observers praised Tyrrell’s swift candor.

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The settlement was signed in March but was not released until Tuesday in response to a Times public records request. The deal bars Tyrrell from disclosing confidential Metrolink information or making any statements that are disparaging or discredit the agency, its employees or board members.

Tyrrell said she could not comment beyond an agreed-upon statement that the two sides had settled all differences. “I wish them the best,” she said. Metrolink had no comment, said spokesman Francisco Oaxaca.

Also included in the agreement is a requirement that Solow write Tyrrell, who represented the agency for four years, a letter of recommendation.

The state Public Utilities Commission regulates Metrolink and other rail agencies. The settlement notes that Tyrrell may be required to comment on Metrolink in that capacity.

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rich.connell@latimes.com


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