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OAKBROOK TERRACE MAYOR RESIGNS AMID RED-LIGHT CAMERA PROBE

By Booger follow Booger   2020 Jan 24, 4:04am 175 views   6 comments   watch   nsfw   quote   share    


https://www.illinoispolicy.org/oakbrook-terrace-mayor-resigns-amid-red-light-camera-probe/

The mayor of Oakbrook Terrace resigned Jan. 17 as news emerged he was the part of a federal probe into red-light cameras, the controversial traffic control devices that have collected $9.3 million in his western Chicago suburb.

Tony Ragucci resigned as Oakbrook Terrace mayor on the same day the Chicago Tribune reported he was one of the politicians and connected contractors being targeted by agents investigating SafeSpeed LLC, a red-light traffic camera company. Campaign disclosures show Ragucci paid $30,000 from his campaign fund to his lawyer, Thomas Crooks, in November, which the newspaper said was for representation in the probe.

FBI agents also took $60,000 from a safe when they raided Ragucci’s home in October, the Chicago Sun-Times reported earlier this month.

Ragucci was a police officer for 25 years before he became the city’s mayor in April 2009. His third term quickly began to unravel in September after FBI and IRS agents began raiding the offices of politicians connected to SafeSpeed. SafeSpeed, along with its owners and officers, have been among Ragucci’s biggest campaign donors, the Tribune reported.

Red-light cameras in Illinois sucked more than $1 billion away from drivers from 2008 to 2018, an Illinois Policy Institute analysis found. Additionally, they have been at the center of federal corruption investigations of politicians at the state, county and local levels.

Federal agents raided the village offices of McCook, Lyons, and Summit in September in connection to the SafeSpeed investigation. Two days earlier, former state Sen. Martin Sandoval had his home and offices raided in the same investigation. He has since resigned his senate seat.

Ragucci in 2015 asked the Illinois Department of Transportation to allow installation of the cameras in his city, but they rejected his proposal because their study found the intersections to be safe, according a Tribune report. The department changed their mind when Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Sandoval lobbied them about the idea two months after he received a $10,000 donation from SafeSpeed and another $5,000 from a company investor.

In the two years Oakbrook Terrace has operated two red-light cameras, they have collected over $9.3 million, according to data collected from a Freedom of Information Act request. In fiscal year 2019 alone, the city received $5.4 million, far more than any other municipality in the state besides Chicago.

The city’s fiscal year 2020 budget projects another $5 million from the two cameras, the Tribune reported. SafeSpeed charges the city about $2.3 million annually for the cameras, plus a $2,000 per month maintenance fee.

Placing cameras at safe intersections makes it pretty clear the devices are about revenue and not safety. A 2017 Chicago Tribune report found over half of the intersections at which IDOT approved cameras were among the safest in the state, according to the department’s own study.

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza recently said her office will no longer help local governments collect fines from unpaid red-light camera tickets.

“The comptroller’s office isn’t going to be in the business [of helping] a program that’s broken and morally corrupt,” Mendoza said.

Also, SafeSpeed is not the first red-light camera company to be at the center of a corruption probe. A high-ranking Chicago official and the RedFlex Traffic Systems Inc. CEO went to federal prison after a bribery investigation.
1   OccasionalCortex   ignore (5)   2020 Jan 24, 12:50pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

This is a racket here in California.
2   TEOTWAWKI   ignore (5)   2020 Jan 24, 1:55pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

OccasionalCortex says
This is a racket here in California.


All red light camera tickets I receive in the mail are immediately re-directed into the shredder. Been doing it for the last 20 years or so w/o any ill effects.
3   HeadSet   ignore (3)   2020 Jan 24, 8:39pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

OccasionalCortex says
This is a racket here in California.


Here in VA, the company that installed the red light cameras got caught with the city shortening the yellow cycle. Disgusting.
4   rd6B   ignore (1)   2020 Jan 25, 7:46am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

OccasionalCortex says
This is a racket here in California.

In Houston, despite some retardation of voters, they voted cameras down a few years ago.
5   WineHorror1   ignore (1)   2020 Jan 25, 7:53am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

The_Weeping_Ayatollah says
OccasionalCortex says
This is a racket here in California.


All red light camera tickets I receive in the mail are immediately re-directed into the shredder. Been doing it for the last 20 years or so w/o any ill effects.

Doubt it. How do you renew tags and licences?
6   TEOTWAWKI   ignore (5)   2020 Jan 25, 9:50am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

WineHorror1 says
The_Weeping_Ayatollah says
OccasionalCortex says
This is a racket here in California.


All red light camera tickets I receive in the mail are immediately re-directed into the shredder. Been doing it for the last 20 years or so w/o any ill effects.

Doubt it. How do you renew tags and licences?


Easily. These red light automated tickets are not enforceable. Unlike parking ticket red light is a moving violation and as such can't be attached to the vehicle. It's the driver who's responsible, not owner. And for driver to be identified a police officer must be present at the time of violation, check the ID and then appear in court to testify. Nothing of which happens with red light camera tickets. So don't be a gullible idiot, don't run to the clerk of the court to "settle the matter" and you'll be fine.

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