Chicago Sues Red Light Camera Firm

Red light camera in Chicago (AP Photo/Stacy Thacker, File)

Critics of Chicago’s red light cameras got some good news this week. According to the Chicago Tribune, which has done a series of investigations into the traffic ticketing effort, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration is suing the city’s former red light camera operator, Redflex Traffic Systems, for more than $300 million.

The Tribune reports:

The lawsuit details an alleged conspiracy in which Redflex executives teamed up with [former top city transportation executive John] Bills to orchestrate cash payments to him through a consultant acting as a bagman, as well as providing Bills with vacation trips, computers, golf outings and other perks. In exchange, according to the lawsuit, Bills coached Redflex on how to beat its competitors, orchestrated key votes at City Hall, manipulated field tests to favor the company, covered up problems with Redflex’s performance and cost taxpayers millions by encouraging city officials to buy Redflex cameras instead of leasing them.

In March, I wrote about another Tribune investigation that showed the Emanuel administration had been ignoring data and national safety recommendations regarding the controversial cameras.

According to the Tribune, this week, the Mayor’s office didn’t respond to their questions about whether ticketed drivers could expect reimbursement if the city wins any money in the case.

Jenn Stanley is a freelance journalist, essayist and independent producer living in Chicago. She has an M.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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Tags: chicagocarslawsuitscorruption