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IDOT orders Oakbrook Terrace to turn off red light cameras due to noncompliance; former mayor stands charged with red-light camera bribery scheme

IDOT orders Oakbrook Terrace to turn off red light cameras
IDOT orders Oakbrook Terrace to turn off red light cameras 01:27

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. (CBS) -- The Illinois Department of Transportation ordered the City of Oakbrook Terrace to turn off its red-light camera on the grounds that the western suburb has failed to comply with state policy.

This comes about a month after former Oakbrook Terrace Mayor Anthony Ragucci was hit with federal corruption charges, on accusations that he thousands of dollars in payoffs in exchange for allowing red-light cameras in the suburban city.

However, the reason the state gave for ordering the cameras turned off has nothing to do with the charges against Ragucci.

IDOT announced Thursday that it has revoked its permit for a red-light camera at Route 83 and 22nd Street in Oakbrook Terrace, because despite repeated requests, Oakbrook Terrace did not submit a post-installation analysis on the effectiveness of the camera in improving safety at the intersection – as per IDOT policy.

Oakbrook Terrace has been ordered to deactivate its camera system at once. Black plastic bags were been placed over the cameras late Thursday.

Oakbrook Terrace also must apply within 15 days for a permit to have the whole camera system taken down.

Ragucci, who resigned as mayor in January 2020 amid published reports of a federal investigation of the city's red light camera contract, was charged in April charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of filing a false tax return.

According to the charges, a red-light camera firm identified only as "Company A" got a one-year contract to operate red light cameras in Oakbrook Terrace in September 2012, with options for two one-year renewals, but the first cameras did not begin operating until August 2017.

In late 2016, an unnamed "Individual B-1," who was president of an unnamed "Company B" that worked as the sales representative of "Company A," offered to hire a relative of Ragucci's in exchange for his continued support of the red-light cameras.

Instead, in January 2017, Ragucci informed Individual B-1 that his relative would not go on Company B's payroll, and instead Individual B-1 agreed to pay Ragucci $3,500 a month from revenue generated by the red-light cameras. Individual B-1 began making those payments after the red-light cameras began operating in August 2017.

Shortly before Individual B-1 died in January 2018, Ragucci met with him and an unnamed "Individual B-2," who ended up taking over as Company B's president, and continued making the monthly payments to Ragucci.

In August 2018, a representative of the red light camera company, identified only as "Individual A," who was cooperating with federal prosecutors at the time, provided Ragucci with a $5,000 payment in exchange for renewing the red light camera contract. In April 2019, Individual A provided Ragucci with a $7,500 payment in exchange for signing another one-year renewal of the contract. 

The charges also accuse Ragucci of filing a false federal income tax return in 2018, claiming his total income was $95,830, when he "knew that his total income substantially exceeded that amount." 

The charges do not identify the red-light camera company involved in the case, but according to published reports, the company is SafeSpeed, which has been connected to multiple other cases involving SafeSpeed representatives paying bribes to local politicians.

SafeSpeed has denied any wrongdoing, saying any bribes offered by former employees or representatives were made without the company's knowledge.

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