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Official At Company That Holds Chicago's Red Light Camera Contract Resigns

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 8, 2013 5:20PM

Photo Credit: -Tripp-
Welcome to Chicago: Where even the red light cameras are rooted in corruption and the effects are felt halfway across the globe. The Tribune reports the chairman of the Australian parent company that holds the contract to the city’s traffic camera network has resigned amid ongoing investigations into corruption involving the contract.

Maxwell Findlay resigned as chairman of Redflex Holdings Ltd. Feb. 6. Redflex Holdings is the parent company of Redflex Traffic Systems, which had their hold on the red light camera contract extended by six months so Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson could complete his investigation into the company paying a $910 hotel tab for Chicago Department of Transportation official John Bills in 2010 and didn’t report it to the Chicago Board of Ethics until the Tribune first reported it last October. Redflex also awarded a contract to a friend of Bills.

Redflex was considered a favorite to win the contract for the city’s speeding camera program before the news of their relationship with Bills broke. Redflex Holdings also announced for the first time it was cooperating with law enforcement authorities and an internal investigation revealed Redflex Traffic Systems did more than pay a hotel bill for Bills.

The internal probe found that company executives systematically courted former city transportation official John Bills with thousands of dollars in free trips to the Super Bowl and other sporting events, sources familiar with the investigation told the Tribune. The company also hid the extent of the improper relationship from City Hall after the newspaper's reporting last year forced Redflex to partially reveal its ties to Bills, sources said.

The internal probe and a parallel investigation by city Inspector General Joseph Ferguson are also raising more questions about the company's hiring of a longtime Bills friend who received more than $570,000 in company commissions as a customer service representative in Chicago, the sources said.

Bills did not return calls, but has adamantly denied any wrongdoing. "I would never have intentionally accepted a dime from Redflex, I wouldn't do that," he told the Tribune in October.

Redflex Holdings CEO Robert DeVincenzi told the Tribune in a statement he “will do everything in my power to regain the trust of the Chicago community.”News of Finlay’s resignation and the internal investigation led to trading of Redflex’s stock being suspended by the Australian Securities exchange. Ian Davis, another Redflex board member named in the 2010 memo that first detailed the company’s courting of Bills, also resigned.