Category Archives: Red Light Cameras
Just a handful of Bucktown area residents dropped by Holstein Park on Wednesday night to voice their thoughts on two area red light cameras slated to be permanently decommissioned.
Two red light cameras as Ashland and Diversey and another pair at the intersection of Western, Armitage and Milwaukee have been turned off since March, after a pre-election announcement by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to turn off 50 cameras at 25 intersections across the city.
The intersections, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation, have had crashes fall below a certain metric that made in unnecessary to keep the cameras there. Crashes at Ashland and Diversey have fallen to just 1.31 crashes per million vehicles with zero right angle crashes. At Western-Armitage-Milwaukee, crashes were at 1.99 per million vehicles with zero right angle crashes.
The one hour open house had poster boards extolling the benefits of red light cameras as well as crash data at every RLC intersection in the city.
But perhaps just four or five residents showed up to check out the open house, ask questions and voice their opinion Wednesday evening. Two of the attendees were from the anti-camera group Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras.
That’s at least what the beleaguered Redflex believes in a notice filed in federal court on Monday, September 21st according to Cook County Record.com.
The City of Chicago is going after Redflex to recover over $300 million in damages because the city believes the company violated the terms of their multi-million dollar contract by breaking their word that it did not bribe any city official to win and retain the city’s red light camera contract.
Redflex management appears to have engaged in a bribery scheme with a former Chicago Department of Transportation official to win and retain the city’s lucrative red light camera program. Company executives used a middle-man to funnel over an alleged million dollars of cash and gifts to the city manager.
Don’t do this home kids.
A Long Island, NY man posted a video of himself “disabling” a red light camera that had issued him six tickets.
Now he’s been arrested.
In his YouTube video, he instructs viewers on how to disable the RLC by using a painting extension rod to simply push up the head of the camera so it would photograph the sky instead of the license plates of motorists.
According to the local ABC affiliate, the man “was charged with four counts of Criminal Tampering 3rd Degree and four counts of Obstruction of Governmental Administration 2nd Degree.”
Shares in Redflex Traffic Systems tumbled to an all-time low of 15 cents per share September 2nd, after the firm told Australian investors that it lost $38 million in the last fiscal year. The stock price rebounded mildly this week as it was trading at 22 cents a share as of September 9th.
But shareholders likely now regret rejecting as inadequate Macquarie Bank’s bid to buy out Redflex at $2.75 a share four years ago.
The takeover bid came long before the firm’s corruption surfaced. Redflex now faces the prospect of paying Chicago, Illinois up to $300 million in penalties for lying to city officials. Under the Windy City’s “false claims” ordinance, Redflex may be held liable for denying that it was engaged in bribery, when the facts now show that it was. Former Redflex executive vice president Aaron M. Rosenberg, who is cooperating with federal prosecutors, filed the lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court as a whistleblower with direct and independent knowledge of the bribery schemes. His filing is a formality, as Chicago has already sent notice of its intent to take over the lawsuit.
That’s what happened to red light camera vendor Redflex Traffic System according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The newspaper is reporting, recently unsealed legal documents show the City of Chicago has filed a lawsuit against Redflex for over $300 million in damages due to alleged ethical misbehavior by the company.
The Australian-based provider of automated traffic enforcement systems has been struggling under a barrage of setbacks including having former CEO being indicted and pleading guilty to operating bribery schemes in Chicago and cities in Ohio to secure contracts.
The scandal has cost the company municipal contracts all over the country.
No more so than in Chicago, which the company lost when the Chicago Tribune reported on how the company had allegedly funneled over a million dollars in cash, cars, homes and gifts to John Bills, the former CDOT manager who helped grease the skids for Redflex to win and retain the city’s red light camera program. When the explosive allegations were reported, Mayor Rahm Emanuel canceled the Redflex contract–the nation’s largest RLC program and far and away Redflex’s most lucrative client.
On Saturday August 22nd, the group plans a demonstration at the intersection of 87th & Lafayette from 11 AM to 2 PM.
“This intersection was mentioned in several media reports this week as one of the top revenue generating cameras in the City of Chicago pulling in $5.8 million in infractions since May 2011,” states the group’s press release. “Red Light Cameras were also in the news this week as embattled RedFlex CEO Karen Finley changed her plea to guilty in the $2 million dollar bribery scheme she allegedly engineered with a Chicago transportation official.”
It was truth and consequences for Karen Finley on Thursday when the ex-Redflex CEO pleaded guilty in federal court to her role in a bribery scheme to secure, and grow Chicago’s red light camera program according to the Sun-Times.
In admitting her guilt, she faces up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Finley will be sentenced in February
Finley helped devise a scheme whe.re she funneled cash and gifts to a high-level Department of Transportation manager via a friend of the city employee.
Over a period of years, federal authorities allege Martin O’Malley passed on hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash to CDOT manager John Bills. In return, Bills was able to rig the bid for red light cameras to Redflex and help grow the program into the nation’s largest and most lucrative and generate millions of dollars for the red light camera company.
Chicago is dependent on the hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue generated through the controversial and disliked red light camera program according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The newspaper reports the nation’s largest red light camera program generated $285 million in ticket revenue since Mayor Rahm Emanuel first took office in 2011. And with Chicago’s ongoing financial crisis, the city simply just can’t afford to drop such a lucrative program–despite the corruption, lack of evidence of safety benefits, and the controversial shortened yellow lights.
Red light cameras are not about revenue. They’re about safety.
So why is the tiny village of Lakemoor generating about one third of it’s municipal income from a single red light camera at the intersection of Route 12 and Route 120? And why are crashes actually increasing?
Lakemoor is counting on $1.8 million in red light camera fines to keep the budget of the tiny town of 6000 balanced according to the Daily Herald. In fact Lakemoor’s red light camera program is the most lucrative in the suburbs according to the newspaper.
Yet despite the immense number of tickets being issued, shockingly, crashes and injuries at that intersection are up says IDOT and the Daily Herald.
The lawsuit, Kata v. City of Chicago, was filed in 2012, but Thursday’s hearing addressed the city’s motion to have the case dismissed.
But after 2 1/2 hours of sparring between attorneys for the city and those that brought the suit, Judge Rita M. Novak sided with the plaintiffs on several points but continued the city’s motion until Oct. 6 to hear arguments on several other issues.
“We feel good, we feel optimistic,” Patrick Keating, one of the lead attorneys for those seeking to get rid of the cameras, said outside the courtroom. “I think the court gave very careful consideration of the arguments. We’re pleased the case continues and look forward to discussing the merits of the other issues.”
Chicago’s red-light camera program, which began in 2003, is the nation’s largest with 302 cameras at 147 intersections. It has generated over $500 million in revenue for the city — money opponents believe should be refunded to the drivers who paid the fines.