John Bills, who was the number two man at the Chicago Department of Transportation has been sentenced to ten years in prison after being convicted of accepting two million dollars in bribes. Many times he would receive envelopes full of cash and other times, he would have a go between with Redflex Traffic Systems make purchases for him. That go between, Martin O’Malley, would deposit the money into his own bank account, pay the taxes and send the balance to Bills. He also purchased a car, a boat, pricey hotel stays, golf outings, plane tickets, meals, even an Arizona condominium on behalf of Bills, along with cash payments of $557,000.
When it came time to award traffic light contracts, Bills would shape the requirements that made it virtually impossible for anyone but Redflex to win the contract at their rates. Every time a new camera would be installed, Bills would get a “commission”. Even after he retired, Redflex was taking care of him by getting him a job with a non profit they had ties to. Rahm Emanuel cancelled the city’s contract with Redflex in 2013, after the bribery scheme was made known.
The former second-in-command at Chicago’s Department of Transportation was convicted in January of bribery, conspiracy and extortion.
Bills was accused of accepting envelopes stuffed with cash, along with gifts – including condos in two states and a Mercedes – to help Redflex Traffic Systems obtain contracts in a decade-long scheme. Prosecutors said the cash and gifts were worth a total of up to $2 million.
Bills’ attorney, Nishay Sanan, had asked for a more lenient sentence of three to four years in prison.
‘Mr. Bills is not ex-Governor Blagojevich,’ Sanan told the judge, referring to former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who is serving a 14-year prison term. ‘He’s not selling Senate seats.’
During the trial, a Redflex consultant, who pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme, testified that he passed envelopes stuffed with thousands of dollars in cash at a time to Bills at a restaurant.