Stop: Red Light Cameras In Chicago Paid For What?

Red light cameras are a problem for anyone who doesn’t generally agree with the rules of traffic. Some of them simply don’t give the average driver a chance to make a safe turn, but that’s probably just a glitch. The devices are supposed to catch those drivers who decide to ignore the most basic of road rules.

A red traffic light means you should stop.

Too many people ignore that rule and as a result, they end up victims of a horrible accident, or if they’re lucky, a traffic fine mailed to them. Sometimes those cameras malfunction and ticket innocent motorists.

Ideally, the traffic fine is supposed to pay for road work such as widening highly used routes, maintaining freeways, and fixing pot-holes.

One company in Chicago which makes red light cameras has allegedly proven this is not always the case. One man at the top of Redflex, John Bills, was once the Managing Deputy Commissioner at the Department of Transportation. He has now been indicted on corruption charges after the FBI discovered possible evidence that he spent a large sum of the funds from this traffic regulation device on personal items.

Allegedly, a Mercedes and a condominium in Arizona were both bought with funds gained from the traffic regulation enforcement devices after possible tampering.

Martin O’Malley also found himself subjected to government investigation after it was proven that out of the $2 million or more he earned as a contractor, a lot of it was then funneled to Bills.

An FBI special agent wrote up an affidavit in May of 2014 which alleges several personal expenses that John Bills paid for using money gained from the devices. The car and condominium mentioned were counted among a list including purchase and storage of a boat, and an addition to his Michigan cabin. Other items which have been considered personal expenses include a divorce attorney, his children’s schooling, and two separate mortgages.

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The citizens of Chicago would probably not be happy to know that the devices keeping them in line on the road have been allegedly used for personal gain. While red light cameras serve a noble purpose, the money gained from fines have allegedly not been going where they were supposed to. Some of those cameras were found to be malfunctioning, and created tickets for around 13,000 people actually following the rules of the road.

The official complaint states that the Chicago Redflex contract provided 20 percent of the total camera systems they supplied in the U.S.. This means that due to the alleged corruption, the windy city was one of the biggest areas being scammed by the use of faulty red light cameras.

Undeserved traffic tickets were possibly funding John Bills’ Mercedes, and that’s just wrong. Thankfully, the City of Chicago is looking into refunding traffic tickets that have been deemed questionable.

[image via WGNO]