Red Light Camera Briber Gets 10 Years

That’s what the Chicago Tribune is reporting.

Ten years in jail for Red Light Camera briber.

Ten years in jail for Red Light Camera briber.

And, lest we forget where Red Light Cameras got their authorization, remember that State Rep. Jack Franks was one of the bill’s co-sponsors in 2006.

Fox River Grove has a red light camera endangered by a David McSweeney bill. Note that there is more snow in this photo than there is today.

Fox River Grove has a red light camera authorized by the bill Jack Franks co-sponsored in 2006.

Red light cameras for Jack Franks were something like Rod Blagojevich in that Franks was for them (him) before he was against them (him).

The memo that Jack Franks sent seeking patronage appointments from Governor Rod Blagojevich.

The memo that Jack Franks sent seeking patronage appointments from Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Here’s the press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office:

Former City of Chicago Transportation Official Sentenced to Ten Years for Corruption in Awarding of Red-light Camera Contracts

CHICAGO — The former assistant transportation commissioner for the city of Chicago was sentenced today to ten years in federal prison for his role in a corruption scheme involving the city’s red-light camera contracts.

A jury in January convicted JOHN BILLS, 55, of Chicago, on all counts against him. The conviction included nine counts of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud, one count of extortion under color of official right, one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, three counts of bribery, and three counts of filing false tax returns.

In addition to the 120-month prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Kendall also ordered restitution in the amount of $2,032,959.50.

The sentence was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Michael J. Anderson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Joseph M. Ferguson, Inspector General for the City of Chicago; and James D. Robnett, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago.

In 2003, as an assistant transportation commissioner, Bills was a voting member of the city’s Request for Proposal (RFP) evaluation committee, which sought vendors under the city’s Digital Automated Red Light Enforcement Program. In May 2003, the committee recommended awarding contracts to Phoenix-based Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., to install cameras that automatically record and ticket drivers who run red lights. Evidence at trial revealed that from approximately 2003 to 2011, Bills used his influence to expand Redflex’s business with the city, resulting in millions of dollars in contracts for the installation of hundreds of red-light cameras. In exchange for his efforts, Redflex provided Bills with cash and personal benefits, including meals, golf outings, rental cars, airline tickets, hotel rooms and other entertainment.

Some of the benefits were given directly to Bills, while hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash was funneled to him through a friend, MARTIN O’MALLEY. Redflex hired O’Malley as a contractor and paid him lavish bonuses as new cameras were added in Chicago. O’Malley testified at trial that he often stuffed the bonus money into envelopes and gave it to Bills during meals in Chicago restaurants. In addition, O’Malley testified that he used some of the bonus money paid to him by Redflex to purchase and pay all expenses for a condo in Arizona that Bills used as his own. O’Malley, of Worth, pleaded guilty in December 2014 to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Kendall on Sept. 12, 2016.

After KAREN FINLEY became CEO of Redflex, O’Malley’s commissions escalated and Bills assisted Redflex in being awarded a “sole-source” contract for additional cameras. The sole source contract was rescinded when a competitor complained, and as the city began the process of issuing a second RFP in 2007, Bills, in his capacity as a non-voting, advisory member of the 2007 evaluation committee, assisted in ensuring that the RFP favored Redflex. Finley, of Cave Creek, Ariz., pleaded guilty last year to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery. She is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Kendall on Nov. 10, 2016.

The government is represented by Mr. Fardon and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Laurie J. Barsella and Timothy Storino.


Red Light Camera Briber Gets 10 Years — 10 Comments

  1. It’s not a tax, right?

    That’s all Jacko cares about. Forget fines, fees, court costs it’s not a tax!

  2. John Bartman is #4 on the Jack Franks jobs for family, friends, and others letter to Rod Blagojevich that’s dated February 27, 2003.

    Mr. Bartman did get a job at IDOT after that letter was sent.

    Mr. Bartman is the candidate that Democrats chose to run for the 63rd District State Representative slot currently held by Jack Franks.

    Jack Franks, while running as Democrat for 63rd District State Representative, announced he would run as Democrat for McHenry County Board Chair on May 15, 2016.

    That day, Peter Gonigan of First Electric Newspaper (Algonquin, Lake in the Hills, Huntley) reported:

    “Later, in a First Electric Newspaper interview, Franks qualified that saying he’d give up the Rep. race if the Committee can pick another candidate who’s both ‘electable’ and holds a political outlook consistent with his own.”

    That person turned out to be a fellow Marengo resident, former Chair of the McHenry County Democrat Party, current IUOE Local 150 affiliate IIIFFC prevailing wage monitor on taxpayer construction projects, John Bartman.

    Mr. Bartman supports the election gimmick cut 10 campaign along with Jack Franks to cut property taxes of all McHenry County taxing districts by 10%.

    Which has just about zero chance of coming to fruition, since not one single taxing district has said they would cut their property taxes by 10%, much less producing a plan to do so.

    Jack Franks refuses to produce his cut 10 plan until after the election.


    John Bartman is the 3rd Democrat to surface as a candidate for 63rd District State Representative election in the November 8, 2016 election.

    He surfaced after the March 15, 2016 primary election.

    The first was incumbent Jack Franks.

    The second was Jeffery Lichte, who filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections (SBE) to run as a Republican for 63rd Representative on November 30, 2015 at 2:45PM.

    Other than himself, all of those gathering signatures for Jeffery Lichte’s nominating petitions were from outside McHenry County.

    Apparently not a single Democrat or Republican in McHenry County wanted to be listed as a petition passer to get a Democrat on the Republican ballot.

    Who was willing to be a petition passer for a Democrat running as a Republican?

    – Amy Howanietz, Maple Park
    – Kelley Cook, DeKalb,
    – Joshua Mediena, Chicago
    – Ruby Navarrete, Chicago
    – Marlene Roa, Chicago
    – Liliana Alverez, Chicago
    – Larry Whitehead, Chicago
    – Sharron Troupe, Chicago
    – Elizabeth Shatara, Alsip
    – James Robinson, Western Springs
    – Jencie Richmond, DeKalb

    Were these people told Jeffery Lichte was a Democrat running as a Republican?

    The Jeffery Lichte campaign featured smear attack mailers from Government for the People independent expenditure PAC.


    A Statement of Organization for Government for the People was filed March 7, 2016 with the Illinois State Board of Elections (SBE).

    The form was signed by John M Biesk as Chairman; but; on line 9 the name is clearly printed as Bieck, not Biesk; how many adults forget how to print their last name or misspell their last name?


    One of the contributions to Government for the People was from the Illinois Education Association (IEA) teacher union PAC, Illinois Political Action Committee for Education (IPACE).

    On March 8, 2016, one day after the PAC was formed, IPACE filed a B-1 Expenditure for $12,500 expended to Government for the People with an address of Shaw Decremer, whom the Chicago Tribune anointed as Michel Madigan’s top campaign aide.

    On March 9, 2016, IPACE sent a letter stating that B-1 included the wrong address, and the address should be the Naperville address that was listed for John M Biesk (the person whom forgot how to print his name).


    A picture on Google maps shows a Jack Franks campaign sign on Jeffery Lichte’s lawn.


    A Jack Franks fundraiser flyer included the name of Jeffery Lichte on the Host Committee.


    Recent voting records indicate that Jeffery Lichte voted Democrat.


    During the campaign, Jeffery Lichte had no campaign website, no campaign signs, no campaign literature, and did not show up at the League of Women’s Forum debate for the 63rd District at McHenry County College.

    There was a questionnaire submitted to the Northwest Herald for his campaign though.


    On July 28, 2016, McHenry County Blog posted a picture of Jeffery Lichte wearing a Jack Franks hat, reporting that Mr. Lichte was driving a Jack Franks labeled campaign vehicle, in the McHenry Fiesta Days Parade on July 24, 2016.


    And that’s a backdrop for the Democrat campaign for and

  3. Check this article from the Sun Times out “Former City Hall insider gets 10 years in red-light camera scam”.

    John Bills is called a “former political
    Operative” of Michael Madigan in paragraph two.

  4. Better Government Association

    Pension Database

    John Bills

    Benefit (Pension) Start Date: July 1, 2011

    33 Years of Service

    Chicago Municipal Employees Annuity and Benefit Fund (MEABF)

  5. Note:

    Whereas the rest of the state has a single Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF), Chicago and Cook County have a number of different pension funds:

    – Chicago MEABF

    – Chicago LABF (Laborers)

    – Chicago Park District

    – Cook County

    – Cook County Forest Preserve

    – Metropolitan Water and Reclamation District (MWRD) which covers Cook County

  6. Pension for John Bills

    $111,800 – 2016
    $106,278 – 2015
    $105,382 – 2014
    $102,313 – 2013
    $102,313 – 2012

    The pension code includes a provision that felony convictions that are job related result in loss of the pension.

    Not sure of the details, can those appealing their case keep their pension.

  7. Pay for John Bills

    Open the Books

    Cook County Civil Service Commission
    Employment Appeals Board
    2013 – $034,673
    2012 – $025,338

    City of Chicago
    Managing Deputy Commissioner
    2011 – $138,492
    2010 – $138,492

    City of Chicago
    Office of Emergency Management & Communications
    Assistant Director
    2009 – $121,644
    2008 – $118,104
    2007 – $116,340

    City of Chicago
    Office of Emergency Management & Communications
    Assistant Commissioner
    2006 – $113,508

    City of Chicago
    Office of Emergency Management & Communications
    2005 – $108,840

    City of Chicago
    2004 $102,564

    City of Chicago
    2003 – $102,564
    2002 – $098,592
    2001 – $098,592
    2000 – $095,724

  8. Any ammo you can give me to fight a red light camera ticket in Fox River Grove for not coming to a complete stop before turning right on red?

    I know Fox River Grove and Lakemoor are the only 2 towns left in McHenry county with red light cameras and Lakemoor is facing a class action lawsuit.

    I know Safe Speed is also under a criminal corruption investigation.

    Not sure if that’s the company FRG has a contract with.


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