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Ex-City Official Bribed With Gifts, Hotel Rooms In Red Light Camera Deal, Ex-VP Says

By Kate Shepherd in News on Jan 21, 2016 8:24PM

A retired City Hall employee is on trial for allegedly helping red-light camera company Redflex get a lucrative $131 million contract with the city in 2003. With the trial underway, new details paint a troubling picture of the relationship between the ex-city official and the red light camera company execs.

John Bills, a former assistant commissioner at the Chicago Department of Transportation is facing a slew of charges, including fraud, extortion and bribery, according to the Sun-Times.

The former vice president of Redflex, Aaron Rosenberg, testified at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse that Bills asked for favors, including meals, golf outings, cigars and hotel stays, in return for a unanimous vote in Redflex's favor—and he ultimately got all of these things, worth over $14,000. Rosenberg told jurors that prosecutors gave him immunity for telling the truth about the bribery scheme.

Another former employee of the Arizona-based company, Martin O'Malley, already testified that he gave Bills $560,000 in cash bribes from the company, according to the Sun-Times. O'Malley and former CEO Karen Finley already plead guilty.

Bills' defense attorney, Nishay Sanan, maintains his client's innocence in the scheme, arguing that Bills "didn't have the clout to pull off the kind of scam alleged by the feds."

The city is also suing Redflex for $300 million. The company's contract with the City of Chicago was canceled by Mayor Rahm Emanuel back in 2013.