CHICAGO (CBS) — The former CEO of the scandal-plagued company that once ran the city’s red light camera program has pleaded not guilty to federal charges she bribed a city official to win the red light camera contract.
WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports 54-year-old Karen Finley, of Arizona, was indicted last month on nine counts of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud, three counts of bribery and one count of conspiracy to commit bribery.
Finley, the former CEO of Redflex Traffic Systems, is accused of arranging $2 million worth of bribes paid to former city official John Bills, who allegedly steered $124 million in red light camera contracts to the company.
At her arraignment on Wednesday, Finley pleaded not guilty to all charges. U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall allowed Finley to remain free on a $4,500 recognizance bond, but ordered Finley’s husband – a competitive shooter – to lock up his gun collection.
Bills was arrested in May, for allegedly accepting more than $643,000 in cash and checks, and a myriad of other bribes – including dozens of trips, a $177,000 Arizona condominium, golf outings, computers, and other personal items bought on Redflex’s dime.
Bills, 53, was indicted on nine counts of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud, three counts of bribery, three counts of filing a false income tax return, one count of conspiracy to commit extortion, and one count of conspiracy to commit bribery.
Bills’ longtime friend, 73-year-old Martin O’Malley, also has been indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, for allegedly serving as the bagman for the bribes.
In 2012, the city barred Redflex from bidding on a new red light camera contract, after the Chicago Tribune first reported on the bribery allegations.
Redflex was replaced by Xerox last year, under a new contract the city has said will save taxpayers $50 million.