By on September 1, 2015

Red light camera in Beaverton, Oregon

Chicago wants $300 million from the company it hired to photograph, ticket and follow drivers after it was revealed that executives bribed city officials for the contract, the Chicago Tribune is reporting.

Executives for Redflex paid over $2 million to city officials through a bag man for the $124 million contract from the city, which started in 2003. City officials are suing for roughly triple that amount, including penalties.

Redflex has been accused of handing out thousands of unnecessary tickets to motorists, including 13,000 in Chicago alone, according to the Tribune. 

The CEO of Redflex, Karen Finley, stepped down after pleading guilty to bribery charges. The city official accused of accepting the $2 million in bribe payments, John Bills, is facing federal charges later this year.

The controversial cameras face an uncertain future in many cities. Officials in Tampa are reviewing that city’s contract that fines motorists more than $150 per offense, with the contracting company pocketing nearly half that amount. The cameras don’t produce significant revenue, Tampa officials say, and the cameras may not make problematic intersections any safer.

“When I saw the numbers of the money and where the money is going right now, that’s money being taken out of our city and it’s quite a large amount,” Tampa City Council member Yolie Capin told the Tampa Tribune. “We felt it should be used for engineering those problematic intersections.”

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32 Comments on “Corrupt Red Light Camera Company Sued By Chicago for $300M...”


  • avatar
    BDT

    Corruption in Chicago? No way…

  • avatar
    sbc350

    Let me get this straight…..the city gets to sue because their officials took bribes?

  • avatar
    thelaine

    It aint just chicago.

  • avatar

    The companies that administer the camera traffic programs are predatory.

    I dutifully sent in my check for the fine I was issued. For some reason either the company or their financial institution decided to cash the check for $5 less than $55 I wrote it for.

    They then charged me late fees and penalties that added up to close to $100 for underpaying my fine by $5.

    It took months of long and tough conversations on the phone and repeated emailing of the cancelled check before they acknowledged they had made an error. Up until their acknowledgement I was treated as the guilty party, I think they thought I was making it all up despite proof to the contrary. It was as if they had been trained to patiently listen to whatever cockamamie excuse you could muster and then barrage you with demands and threats regardless of what you said.

    • 0 avatar
      happycamper

      My brother drove across the Golden Gate Bridge while on vacation. He didn’t realize that the bridge is toll only via E-Z pass, so there was no toll booth.

      He finds a toll evasion ticket for $7 waiting for him when he gets home. So, he calls the company and complains that he didn’t know that he needed an E-Z pass and there was no way to get off the freeway once he was on it. After the discussion, he agrees to pay the fine over the phone via credit card.

      Two weeks later, he receives another citation for $25 for late fees due to nonpayment. Keep in mind that he paid via credit card and has documentation.

      Another phone call and the person says he needs to send them documentation showing that he paid the fine. So, he sends a copy of the credit card statement and phone log.

      Their reply was the documents are illegible and they cannot accept them, even though his 90+ year old neighbor has no problem reading these.

      These crooks need to go…

      • 0 avatar
        dartman

        happy- the $7 was not a ticket/fine; it was a bill for the toll due, which is $7.25 for two axles. There are only two ways to pay, by billing to the registered owner or use of FasTrak transponders. Not having people stop to pay cash greatly improves flow of traffic. The Golden Gate Bridge Authority has nothing to do with third party companies and use the CalTrans FasTrak system for automatic toll payments, which reduces the toll by $1.00 to $6.25. Doesn’t sound like your brother was real clear on what was going on, and based on the inaccuracies in your post my guess is there’s more to the story than your brother is telling you…

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      The politicians that sold them access to the public should be in prison. Failing that, they should be tarred and feathered on the 4th of July.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Seems like only the proles go to prison…

        • 0 avatar
          VCplayer

          Pretty sure four recent Illinois governors either have or are serving prison time, so that’s not entirely true.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I don’t know the backstories of those governors, but I’d wager they were taken down by their fellow politicriminals, not by the “justice” applied to plebs.

          • 0 avatar
            VCplayer

            Public corruption is usually handled on the federal level where fancy lawyering and weak plea bargains are a lot less likely to get you out of trouble. Unlike municipal and state prosecutors, US attorneys have essentially unlimited resources and broad privileges that make it much more difficult to escape with a slap on the wrist. So generally speaking, officials will end up doing time as long as the case is solid.

            The downside is if you are a pleb who runs afoul of federal law. They can and will burry you for the most innocuous of violations, and they really don’t have to explain their decisions to anyone.

            The lack of accountability helps with the prosecution of public officials and others with friends in high places, but you can get drilled for simple misunderstandings of federal statutes as a common citizen.

            The only way to win is not to play.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Thanks for the reply.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    About time these lousy “programs” get exposed for what they are.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    The cameras are still there, they are just being administered by a different company (Xerox). The city officials weren’t upset about the citizens being forced to give up their cash, just that they weren’t getting a large enough percentage.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Maybe this episode will finally put an end to the red light camera.

    If they can’t survive in Chicago, they can’t survive anywhere.

  • avatar
    kimnkk

    At least Americans have logic, despite it taking bribery charges, at least you guys admit that these things are of no benefit to the community (aside from raising revenue lol).

    These things are ALL over the place in Australia.
    They ticket for red lights and they also ticket for going 2mph over the limit.
    Its absolutely ridiculous in Australia – government insist that these things are for saving lives and not revenue raising (yeah right).

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Ever see that T-shirt with the kettle shouting at the pot, “WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU CALL ME?!”

  • avatar
    walleyeman57

    http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20150828/NEWS02/150829831/jackpot-not-cash-strapped-illinois-cant-pay-biggest-lottery-winners

    Perhaps they can use the proceeds to pay the poor lotto winners.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    The mafia is all corporate now. No concrete shoes, Sopranos, etc. Yes they’re in city counsel, state’s capital and DC.

    You can spot them extorting and cashing in on everything from forced trash service, to BS inspections of businesses in the name of official public ‘heath services’.

    They charge all businesses in my area $460 for a 2 minute BS inspection, redundant to the EPA, AQMD, FDA and others. I refused to pay this *official branch* of county offices, and was hit with repeated angry/threatening phone calls and past-due notices.

    Finally they said code enforcement was going to “pay me a visit” and give my place the anal probe if I didn’t pay. Guess what become of it? Absolutely nothing. They stopped before I had a chance to hit them with a cease/desist.

    This was a few years ago and they don’t even bother wasting postage to send me a bill any more. Everyone else still pay them though.

  • avatar

    glad to see this corruption getting publicized. Red light cameras are a scam. It’s too bad Rahm Emmanuel didn’t lose his job over this.

    >>>The city official accused of accepting the $2 million in bribe payments, John Bills

    Now that’s funny!

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      It’s just government as usual. No real practical point in firing and replacing with like Rahm Emmanuel. Government should lose it’s job over this. Instead of simply reshuffling fall guys.

  • avatar
    henrythegearhead

    I hate red light cameras and bribery as much as the next guy, so I understand the emotional appeal of suing Redflex. Financially, though, it makes no sense. You can’t get blood out of a turnip, and Redflex, if measured by their plummeting stock price – down 83% in the last year and 32% just since last week, is a turnip. The City will spend a lot of taxpayers’ money suing Redflex, yet has to suspect that there will be no payday in the end. Is this just politics, trying to deflect voters’ wrath away from City Hall?

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    Anyone that has never been to Chicago and thinks it is corrupt has no clue what they are talking about, it’s 10 times worse than they could ever imagine, HA!

    I honestly can’t think of anywhere short of some Third World country run by some tinpot dictator that is more corrupt than Chicago.

  • avatar
    bubbajet

    As shown by this issue, these cameras have nothing to do with safety and everything to do with money.

    I got a ticket from one of these, signed by the nice officer who swore under penalty of perjury that I ran the light. The video, however, doesn’t just show me *in* the intersection when the light turned red, but completely through the intersection by almost a car length before the light turned red. Unfortunately, my registration was out so it was cheaper to pay…but it would have been lots of fun to take that one to court.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Kudos. These f’ers took me down a few times. I hope the politicians who took my money and used it for pork belly pet projects go down too.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    I suggest Civil Disobedience…destroy the equipment.

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    This just in: People are still shocked by corruption in Chicago.

  • avatar
    mechaman

    This from a Chicagoan (60 years), a lot of what you hear is exaggerated. That being said, there are two parties here, the guys on the take and the squares not on the take. All other labels are irrelevant ( they call Rahm Mayor Rahmney in some circles here ) I knew the cameras were wack before the ‘investigation’.. when one was installed near my home, I went and timed the yellow. A full second shorter than any other yellow in the area.


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