CHICAGO (CBS) — The City Council’s Finance Committee has approved a nearly $39-million settlement of a lawsuit that contended the Administration did not give motorists required second notices of red light and speed camera violations before hitting them with late fees.

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Chicago Corporation Counsel Ed Siskel acknowledges that, for a time, the city was not giving motorists proper notification of red light and speed camera violations, and prematurely assessing late fees. The $39-million settlement was preferable to what would have happen if the judge found all the tickets issued at that time to be invalid. WBBM’s Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports.

“If the court rules that those are void, the city could be required to refund approximately $264 million,” Siskel said.

Longtime red light camera critic Anthony Beale said he’s glad motorists wronged will get money back.

“It was designed and put in place to generate revenue of the people who can least afford to pay these tickets,” Beale said.

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Beale said someone should be held accountable.

“When we talk about $39 million, heads need to roll,” he said.

But Siskel said it’s not that easy.

“It was a confluence of events that contributed to not putting in place the mechanism required to comply with the ordinance,” Siskel said.

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Without the settlement the city could have been on the hook for more than $400 million in refunds and uncollected fines.