2/7/2018Ex-Wife Wants Share Of Red Light Camera Convict Pension
Hearing set for claim ex-wife is entitled to share pension of Chicago, Illinois official convicted of taking red light camera bribes.
Wrangling over money continues in the aftermath of the Redflex bribery scandal. Next week, the red light camera company's former executive vice president, Aaron M. Rosenberg, will tell a three-judge appellate panel that he is entitled to a $2.3 million windfall for turning state's evidence against his colleagues. Then, at the end of the month, Margaret Bills will testify that she is entitled to a share of the municipal pension owed to her ex-husband, John Bills.
Between 2003 and 2011, John Bills set up the nation's single largest red light camera program as assistant transportation commissioner for Chicago, Illinois. During this time, he pocketed $2 million in bribes from Rosenberg and the former head of US operations for Redflex, Karen Finley. In return for cash and gifts, Bills rigged the contracting procedures to ensure the Australian firm would win out over its rivals.
Redflex, for example, paid the mortgage for the mistress of Bills, and the Australian firm even paid for his divorce in 2012. The 56-year-old fell into hot water after federal corruption investigators began looking into Redflex dealings in the Windy City. Both Rosenberg and Redflex bagman Martin O'Malley immediately began to rat out their co-conspirators. That left Bills taking the fall for nine counts of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud, one count of extortion and three counts of tax fraud.
Bills is currently behind bars at the Pensacola, Florida Federal Prison Camp until August 2024, whereas Karen Finley will be home in time for Christmas. Bills was also ordered to pay back the $2,032,959 he collected from Redflex through Finley, Rosenberg and O'Malley. To get the cash back, federal prosecutors began seizing his assets, including $266,519 in pension contributions held by the city.
Margaret Bills insists that her divorce settlement entitles her to 36 percent of that fund, or $95,946. She claims attorneys on both sides of the case never bothered to mention the seizure orders to her.
"Under the circumstances, including the lack of timely notice, Margaret Bills has been reasonably diligent in presenting her claim," attorney, Thomas W. Drexler argued. "To the extent the court considers her attention to this matter neglectful, that neglectfulness is excusable, as presumably is the neglectfulness of plaintiff's attorney or his staff in failing to properly address the original notice to Ms. Bills and failure to send the second notice as promised to the court."
Margaret Bills is asking for more time to prepare her case.