Tag Archives: Chicago red light cameras
The wheels of justice continue to turn slowly in the Redflex bribery scandal in Chicago.
John Bills, the former Chicago, Illinois deputy transportation commissioner who took bribes from the Australian company is now receiving “mental health counseling” as he awaits sentencing.
On Monday April 25th, Bills, 55, returned from Naples, Florida where he attended a wedding over the previous weekend.
Redflex is trying to convince a judge to dismiss its former executive vice president, Aaron M. Rosenberg, from a lawsuit he filed on behalf of the city of Chicago to recover up to $383 million from the ticketing firm because it lied in official documents. Rosenberg’s attorneys and the city insist that his insider perspective is essential to making the case against Redflex.
On the heels of a ruling allowing one red-light camera lawsuit against the City of Chicago to move forward toward class action status, another Cook County Circuit Court judge put the brakes on another suit on Friday.
Attorneys for the case were hoping to get a green light from the court to move the case to class action status, which they hoped would help them recover more than $600 million in fines, fees and interest paid by vehicle owners.
In her ruling, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Rita Novak threw out the lawsuit.
The suit, Kata v. City of Chicago, has been lingering in Cook County Circuit Court since it was filed four years ago this month. The case was postponed twice while another lawsuit with similar claims, Keating v. City of Chicago, was moving through the appellate court and ultimately the Illinois Supreme Court. But the state supreme court deadlocked on that suit after two justices recused themselves, thus ending that lawsuit.
Kata v. City of Chicago argued that when the city initiated its red-light camera program back in 2003, Illinois law specifically prohibited this type of automated traffic enforcement. But the judge said none of the plaintiff’s tickets were older than 2006, the year the Illinois General Assembly approved a law allowing municipalities located in just eight counties to utilize red-light camera enforcement.
Illinois State Representative Ken Dunkin (5th) is in the political fight of his life this election year.
Members of Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras have held dozens of protests over the years but until now, have never faced a counter-protest before.
Polls show, almost universally, save for the uninformed or anti-data/anti-safety crowd, red light and speed camera are loathed by Chicagoans.
But at this past Saturday’s protest against the cameras at 63rd & Pulaski along with
Jason Gonzales, a political challenger to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’a seat, faced a large contingent of counter protesters.
The anti-Gonzales demonstrators were full-throated in their support of the cameras and Madigan, who has been blocking a vote on a bill in Springfield to ban automated traffic cameras statewide.
Perhaps not coincidentally, John Bills, a foot soldier for Madigan, was recently convicted on 20 counts of bribery when he ran the city’s red light camera program starting from its inception in 2003.
Despite a ruling last week in which a judge said the city’s automated ticketing programs violate “fundamental principles of justice,” officials said there are no plans to return the hundreds of millions in fines and late fees collected from hundreds of thousands of drivers.
That’s because the ruling by Cook County Circuit Judge Kathleen Kennedy did not officially void any tickets nor stop the city from issuing new ones, said Bill McCaffrey, spokesman for the city’s Law Department.
And there will be no change to how the city adjudicates camera violations going forward, he said.
“The judge in this case did not rule on any claims of this case and did not void any tickets,” McCaffrey said in a written statement. “The city has procedures in place that guarantee that individuals who believe their tickets were improperly issued can contest them through the administrative process, where they receive a hearing and impartial review of the evidence.”
And as far as refunds, it could take several years to determine if the lawsuit has merit, and if so, for a judgment to be awarded. In fact, the suit filed on behalf of three ticketed drivers is not yet a class-action lawsuit.
Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras and Illinois State Representative Ken Dunkin demanded a floor vote on his bill for a statewide ban on red light and speed cameras at a press conference on the South Side on Sunday.
Their demand comes in the wake of a recent guilty verdict given to John Bills, the former manager of the city’s red light cameras for accepting nearly $2 million in cash and gifts for helping Redflex Traffic Systems obtain and hold onto the lucrative contract to operate Chicago’s red light camera system. The company raked in over $150 million over the 11 years they held the contract for the nation’s largest RLC program.
Dunkin introduced the bill (HB 141) in Springfield nearly 13 months ago, where it’s sat in the rules committee since.
John Bills, the Chicago Department of Transportation manager who accepted $2 million dollars in cash and gifts to insure Redflex Traffic Systems won, grew and retained the $100 million contract to operate the nation’s largest red light camera program, was found guilty today in federal court.
The jury came back with the bad news for Bills after less than a day in deliberation according to the Sun-Times.
Federal prosecutors wove together a damning narrative of evidence and testimony connecting the bribes he received with coded e-mail communications requesting cash and corroborating witnesses intimately involved with the scandal themselves.
Redflex Bribery Scandal Testimony Spotlights Chicago’s Camera Enforcement Programs Based On Greed, Not Safety
Bills, the former Chicago Department of Transportation deputy commissioner is accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and gifts as bribes to award Redflex Traffic Systems Chicago’s red light camera contract, then help retain and grow sales for the Arizona-based company.
In the second week of the trial, the Chicago Tribune reports prosecutors played tapes of phone calls recorded by former Redflex salesperson Aaron Rosenberg talking with Bills, where the CDOT manRedflex salesman testifies his role was ‘to keep John Bills happy’ager boasted of adding 120 new red light cameras in one year.
The cash came tucked inside plain manila envelopes and delivered during lunch meetings at Manny’s Deli on South Jefferson Street according to Redflex Traffic Systems bagman said in federal court Wednesday.
These revelations came during the first day of the federal prosecution of former Chicago transportation manager John Bills, who’s accused of having accepted nearly $600,000 in cash and even more in gifts for helping Redflex win and grow its contract to provide red light cameras to the City of Chicago.
It took the judge two days to impanel a jury which was somewhat tricky due to the number of potential jurists who had received $100 red light tickets from the city. Ultimately, some jurors were picked despite the red light tickets in their past according to the Chicago Tribune.
But the nation’s largest red light camera program was created from a bribery scheme.
On Monday, the key figure in the bribery scandal will finally face trial in federal court according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Former Chicago Department of Transportation manager John Bills is accused of accepting over a million dollars in gifts, cars, property and cash in return for insuring Redflex Traffic Systems won and retained the contract for the city’s red light camera program.