Tag Archives: Redflex
The trial of the former managing deputy commissioner of the transportation department in Chicago, Illinois, will stay in the Windy City. Judge Virginia M. Kendall on Friday issued a ten-page order rejecting an attempt to move the trial of John Bills to Nevada on the grounds that Chicagoans are so blinded by their hatred of red light cameras that they would take their frustration out on him.
“John Bills cannot receive a fair trial in this town,” his attorney, Nishay K. Sawan had argued in January. “He is accused of being a central player in a transaction that helped bring about one of the most unpopular regulatory programs in the city of Chicago’s history — the red light cameras.”
Sawan noted that the Chicago Tribune has been “relentless and fierce” in its coverage of the bribery story since 2012, making it difficult to find a juror who has not formed an opinion about the world’s most lucrative red light camera program.
“As the city, Cook County, and many other municipalities in the Northern District of Illinois have been subject to this unending press, and as these localities make extensive use of these unpopular cameras, a jury is unlikely to be able to check its bias at the door and dispassionately decide solely on the basis of the evidence before it whether or not Mr. Bills is guilty,” Sawan wrote. “They are likely to express their dissatisfaction with the camera system by voting to convict the man who, as the government will argue, bears a great responsibility for the presence of those cameras in the city of Chicago.”
Judge Kendall did not buy the argument that twelve impartial individuals could not be found in a judicial district with eight million residents.
The former head of US operations for Redflex Traffic Systems is expected to plead guilty to federal bribery charges. During a status hearing Monday in the Chicago, Illinois federal courthouse, lawyers for Karen Finley told US District Judge Virginia M. Kendall that their client intended to change her previously entered “not guilty” plea at a hearing scheduled for August 11 at 9:45am.
Last August, federal prosecutors charged Finley with nine counts of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud, three counts of federal program bribery, and one count of conspiracy in connection with attempts to influence Chicago officials to expand the highly lucrative red light camera contract with the Australian firm. If Finley was offered a plea bargain similar to the one that bribery bag-man Martin O’Malley accepted in December, she will concede to a single count of bribery to avoid a trial.
Alderman Walter Burnett (27th), Chairman of the Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety, says he invited Inspector General Joseph Ferguson to present his office’s recent findings and recommendations at a hearing Tuesday, October 28th at 3 p.m. at City Hall.
“We need to make sure everything is fair and decent for everyone,” said Burnett. “We definitely don’t want people running the red light but at the same time things need to be fair.”
Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) says it’s about time. He and members of the council’s Progressive Caucus have tried to get hearings several times over the past two years of controversy.
“It’s years overdue,” says Waguespack. “With all the issues surrounding the cameras aldermen knew something has to change with this program. It’s been building up for so many years. We’ve been waiting for this a long time.”
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.
That’s the plea former city manager John Bills and his long time friend, Martin O’Malley gave in U.S. Federal Court on Tuesday according to the Chicago Tribune.
Bills, the long time Chicago Department of Transportation deputy commissioner who oversaw the city’s red light camera program, is accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to help Redflex Traffic Systems win and keep the lucrative city contract.
O’Malley is alleged to have been the conduit who funneled most of the $2 million paid to him from Redflex to Bills.
The 23-count indictment alleges Karen Finley provided John Bills, the retired official in charge of the city’s red light camera program, with bribes to help the company secure the city’s contract. Finley was charged with nine counts of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud, three counts of federal program bribery, and one count of conspiracy to commit federal program bribery. Finley was the company’s CEO from 2005-2011 and was Vice-President at the time the alleged bribery scheme was hatched.
Bills, who was indicted in May, is alleged to have received nearly $600,000 in cash and other gifts for his assistance. The company raked in over $124 million in revenue from their Chicago contract over the past 11 years.
The world’s largest copier manufacturer will now oversee the nation’s largest red light-camera program the City of Chicago confirmed Friday morning.
The Chicago Department of Transportation announced Friday it finalized the $44 million contract with Xerox to run the cameras for the next five years. There are options to renew it three times at two years per extension.
Xerox will move immediately to take over the management of the red-light camera program from Redflex, according to CDOT.
Under the new contract, Xerox will charge the city $1,819 per camera per month, which is substantially less than the $4,300 per month Redflex has been charging under the current contract, CDOT said. Officials said the new contract will save $50 million dollars over the next five years.
“Automated red-light enforcement changes drivers’ behavior to reduce the number of crashes and increase the level of safety for everyone,” said CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein. “We plan to continue this important program with a new management team that will both improve the technology and efficiency of the program while saving operating expenses.”
Read more at DNA Info Chicago.
Story updated to reflect correct total contract amount.
According to the city, the cameras at these intersections will be decommissioned due to a dramatic decrease in right angle crashes at those locations.
“Automated traffic enforcement, whether through red-light or speed cameras, is about
changing drivers’ behavior,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel via press release. “The cameras at these intersections are now showing a low level of crashes and dangerous angle crashes, which means an enhanced level of safety.”