Tag Archives: Chicago red light cameras
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.
Tens of thousands of Chicagoans came out of hiding to pay long-overdue tickets and city fines, adding $5.7 million to city coffers during the most recent amnesty program, according to the city’s Department of Finance.
Scofflaws with unpaid tickets and other debts took advantage of a six-week debt relief program, which temporarily returned all outstanding debt for tickets, business taxes and administrative fines to the original fine amount, minus late fees and collection costs. Those who took advantage during the Nov. 15 to Dec. 31 amnesty saw their debt go down by more than 50 percent in many cases.
Facing a huge budget deficit and with over $1.5 billion in uncollected parking, red light and speed camera tickets, Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposed the amnesty during fall budget hearings.
Of the total collected amount, $5.3 million came from motorists paying old parking and red light camera tickets from before 2012. Another $340,000 came from unpaid administrative fines and about $14,000 from overdue business taxes, according to the finance department.
“The fact that over 90,000 parking and red light tickets got paid off — that’s a success,” said Department of Finance spokesperson Molly Poppe. “We’re happy with this number.”
Though the program ran for six weeks, about half the close to $6 million was collected during the last two weeks of the amnesty, she said.
US District Judge Virginia M. Kendall said what government prosecutors wanted to hear on Tuesday. Former Chicago, Illinois Deputy Transportation Commissioner John Bills is on trial for receiving hundreds of thousands in cash and benefits from Redflex Traffic Systems in return for his help in securing the massive $100 million photo ticketing contract, and he will have a harder time defending himself.
Judge Kendall essentially granted all of the government’s motions designed to limit the scope of the trial to ensure that it does not get bogged down by discussions of irrelevant side issues, such as Redflex bribery efforts in Louisiana that have not yet resulted in any criminal charges. Representing Bills, attorney Nishay K. Sanan explained the relevance of what Redflex did in the Pelican State.
American Traffic Solutions presents a bitter tasting end to 2015 with their new video “2015′s Worst Red Light Runners,” which shows, of course, videos of some pretty horrible looking crashes caused by a driver running a red light.
While drivers should never run a red light, the implication from ATS, a major provider of automated traffic enforcement camera technology, is that red light cameras are solely about improving safety.
But if you look at the video, in every case the crash is not occurring just after the light changed to red. In all cases the red light has been on a few seconds before the red light running driver went through the light.
Were they drunk? Or on drugs? On their cell phone or sending a text message?
A class action lawsuit filed in federal court against the City of Chicago, Redflex Traffic Systems and other vendors for the city’s red light camera program was tossed out of federal court last week according to Cook County Record.
The lawsuit, filed by Matthew Falkner, claimed red light camera fines were collected improperly by the city and vendors Redflex, Xerox and IBM because the program itself was illegal.
The basis of the suit’s argument was that Redflex was accused of using bribery to win the contract to establish and run the city’s lucrative red light camera program. The lawsuit was amended to maintain that outsourcing the enforcement of traffic violations to Redflex, Xerox (the current vendor) and IBM, was at odds with the state’s constitution.
US District Judge Virginia M. Kendall on Thursday held a hearing to prepare for January’s red light camera corruption trial of John Bills. Government prosecutors took the opportunity to provide Judge Kendall with a sample of the evidence they plan to use to show a conspiracy between Redflex Traffic Systems of Australia and Bills, who used to be in charge of the Windy City’s red light camera program.
Bills stands accused of being the prime beneficiary of $2 million in Redflex bribes that were funneled through his lobbyist friend, Martin O’Malley, and Redflex Executive Vice President Aaron M. Rosenberg. Rosenberg, O’Malley and Karen Finley, the head of US operations for Redflex, have already admitted guilt.
According to the newly cited evidence, the bribes started in 2003, when Bills and Rosenberg began meeting to discuss the original Chicago camera contract. Rosenberg operated out of the Redflex office in Culver City, California, so when Bills mentioned that he was passing through Los Angeles, Rosenberg asked if there was anything he could do while he was out there. Bills said he wanted a hotel room, so Rosenberg bought him a room on the Redflex expense account. The hospitality effort paid off, as Rosenberg explained in a February 6, 2003 email to Finley.
“My contact [Bills] has already told me that he primed Mayor Daley that Redflex has the best system in the market — bar none,” Rosenberg wrote.