Ex-CEO of red-light camera company pleads not guilty
A former executive of a Phoenix-based company pleaded not guilty Wednesday to federal corruption charges in an ongoing investigation of one of the nation's largest red-light camera programs in Chicago.
Karen Finley, 54, the one-time CEO of Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Chicago, denying she funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and benefits to a retired Chicago official for his help in landing $124 million in city contracts.
WBBM radio reported that U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall agreed to let Finley remain free on a $4,500 recognizance bond. Kendall also ordered Finley's husband -- who shoots competitively -- to secure his collection of guns.
Chicago awarded its first contract to Redflex in 2003 and then signed others later for the city's first red-light enforcement program, which uses cameras to automatically record and ticket drivers who run red lights.
Finley, of Cave Creek, Arizona, was charged with multiple counts of fraud and bribery, and one count of conspiracy to commit bribery. A conviction on just one count of fraud carries a maximum 20-year prison term.
The retired city official, John Bills, faces multiple charges, including fraud, bribery and extortion. He has also pleaded not guilty.
In a statement after charges were announced against Finley in August, Redflex said that it made "aggressive leadership changes" last year that have helped it draw a "distinction between our past and present." It also said it is fully cooperating with investigators.