Tag Archives: Redflex Traffic Systems
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The former vendor for Chicago’s red light camera system was banned two years ago from holding a city contract after allegations the company had bribed a former city manager hundreds of thousands of dollars to secure the lucrative contract.
While Chicago was the company’s largest contract, it has lost camera contracts elsewhere around the country resulting in a painful $3.8 million net loss so far this year according to The Newspaper.
So Redflex management probably wasn’t happy to hear south suburban Tinley Park is going to continue its red light camera program with SafeSpeed, a Chicago-based competitor, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Allegedly, Redflex funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and gifts to former city manager John Bills–the man who oversaw the city’s red light camera program–with O’Malley as the conduit.
While O’Malley originally made a plea of not guilty when he was indicted earlier in the year in federal court.
However, according to the Sun-Times court documents indicate O’Malley has been cooperating with the feds and is planning to change his plea to guilty in December.
O’Malley’s cooperation probably puts additional pressure on Bills and former Redflex CEO Karen Finlay who both entered pleas of not guilty to their indictment.
Here’s the full story, “Key player in red light camera scandal plans to plead guilty.”
A newly released report from Chicago’s Inspector General’s Office slams the city’s management of its red light camera program and its oversight of the program’s former vendor, Redflex Traffic Systems.
The report, released Friday morning, is the result of an OIG investigation into a series of mysterious spikes in red light camera tickets at a handful of intersections uncovered by the Chicago Tribune this past summer. The story spotlighted 12 intersections where ticketing would jump dramatically for a short period of time, then subside just as suddenly, resulting in nearly 16,000 questionable violations.
After the Tribune story broke, members of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus wrote a letter to Inspector General Joseph Ferguson asking him to investigate these issues.
What the OIG investigation revealed was the Chicago Department of Transportation poorly managed the city’s red light camera program while Redflex was the vendor, allowing Redflex to avoid its contractual duties to report enforcement anomalies over the 11 years the company held the contract.
Redflex was banned from bidding on the new contract when an alleged bribery scandal came to light which implicated company management and a former CDOT manager who oversaw the program.
According to the Associated Press, each count carries up to a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Finley is the third of three charged by federal authorities in connection with an alleged bribery scheme . Allegedly Redflex funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars via a middle man to the person who oversaw Chicago’s red light camera program in return for securing and maintaining the city RLC contract.
Former Chicago Department of Transportation manager John Bills, who is also under indictment and pleaded not guilty the week before, allegedly was given cash, gifts, tickets to sporting events, a car, computers and even a condo in Arizona (the home state for Redflex’s U.S. division) for greasing the skids for the red light camera company.