More Chicago Suburb City Officials Busted for Corruption

platic bags coverage red light cameras

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. (WLS) -- Plastic bags covered what were among the most controversial red light cameras in the state.

Brothers Indicted In Widening Illinois Red Light Camera Corruption Probe

The lights are at Route 83 and 22nd Street, just across from the Oakbrook Mall. They are no longer in service, which means drivers will no longer be getting tickets from them in the mail.

James Colucci and Joseph Colucci are accused of giving valuable items, including cash, to Tony Ragucci, then the mayor of Oakbrook Terrace.

Two men have been charged over their alleged roles in a kickback scheme that provided thousands of dollars in cash payments to the then-mayor of Oakbrook Terrace after the western suburb renewed a contract with the red-light camera company SafeSpeed.

James Colucci and Joseph Colucci are accused of serving as the conduit to deliver valuable items, including cash, to Tony Ragucci, when he was mayor of Oakbrook Terrace. In return, Ragucci, among other favors, signed a one-year renewal agreement with SafeSpeed, according to the 10-page federal indictment.

The fraud scheme began sometime in 2016 and ended in the fall of 2019, according to the indictment. James Colucci and Joseph Colucci both began making cash payments to Ragucci beginning in 2018 based on revenue generated from SafeSpeed’s red-light cameras in Oakbrook Terrace.

None of the payments to Ragucci from the Coluccis were reported by Ragucci to the DuPage County Clerk’s Office, in order to evade detection of the scheme, according to the indictment.

A spokesperson for the city of Oakbrook Terrace didn’t respond to questions regarding this recent indictment but said the Illinois Department of Transportation has revoked its highway permit for the red-light camera at Illinois Route 83 and 22nd Street.

The Coluccis’ arraignments had not been scheduled as of Friday night, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney said.

The two men are the latest charged in connection with red-light cameras in the Chicago area.

Ragucci was charged last month and is accused of taking thousands of dollars in secret payments. Agents had previously seized $60,000 in cash from Ragucci’s west suburban home in 2019.

Omar Maani, a onetime SafeSpeed partner, was charged in 2020 with a bribery conspiracy but agreed to work with the feds under a deferred-prosecution agreement.

Crestwood Mayor Louis Presta resigned last year over his dealings with SafeSpeed. He had served as mayor of the southwestern suburb for nearly a decade. He pleaded guilty in November to the red-light bribery scheme. Former state Sen. Martin Sandoval also pleaded guilty to taking a “protector fee” from someone with an interest in the company.

One ticket shows photos of a car allegedly going through the red light, along with the $100 fee. Kyla Ohst got it two weeks ago, just before IDOT shut the cameras down.

"It's fair to get a ticket, but $100 is a lot for something like that," Ohst said.

IDOT revoked the operating permit for the cameras, claiming the Village of Oakbrook Terrace failed to submit mandatory reports documenting safety at the intersection. The agency made no mention, however, of federal charges against the former mayor of Oakbrook Terrace for allegedly accepting bribes from the company that installed the cameras. Activists maintain the cameras should never have been there in the first place.

"Statistics show before they put the cameras here, it was relatively safe and there has not been any change in terms of safety after they placed the cameras here. This was put here so they could generate a lot of money," said Mark Wallace of Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras.

Blake Jacobs got a $100 red light camera ticket there last summer even though he said he's pretty certain he broke no laws.

"I thought I caught the light and I got a ticket in the mail three weeks later," Jacobs said.

Activists said Friday is a good day.

"A little justice for motorists and for the people of Oakbrook," Wallace said.

Former Oakbrook Terrace Mayor Tony Ragucci was indicted last month on charges of wire fraud and filing false tax returns. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison. A trial date has not yet been set.


RED LIGHT CAMERAS
'A little justice': Oakbrook Terrace red light camera permit for busy intersection revoked by IDOT
By John Garcia and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team
Friday, May 13, 2022 3:01PM

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Oakbrook Terrace has had its permit for red light cameras at Route 83 and 22nd Street revoked by IDOT.

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. (WLS) -- Plastic bags covered what were among the most controversial red light cameras in the state.

The lights are at Route 83 and 22nd Street, just across from the Oakbrook Mall. They are no longer in service, which means drivers will no longer be getting tickets from them in the mail.


One ticket shows photos of a car allegedly going through the red light, along with the $100 fee. Kyla Ohst got it two weeks ago, just before IDOT shut the cameras down.

"It's fair to get a ticket, but $100 is a lot for something like that," Ohst said.

IDOT revoked the operating permit for the cameras, claiming the Village of Oakbrook Terrace failed to submit mandatory reports documenting safety at the intersection. The agency made no mention, however, of federal charges against the former mayor of Oakbrook Terrace for allegedly accepting bribes from the company that installed the cameras. Activists maintain the cameras should never have been there in the first place.

"Statistics show before they put the cameras here, it was relatively safe and there has not been any change in terms of safety after they placed the cameras here. This was put here so they could generate a lot of money," said Mark Wallace of Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras.

Blake Jacobs got a $100 red light camera ticket there last summer even though he said he's pretty certain he broke no laws.

"I thought I caught the light and I got a ticket in the mail three weeks later," Jacobs said.

Activists said Friday is a good day.

"A little justice for motorists and for the people of Oakbrook," Wallace said.

Former Oakbrook Terrace Mayor Tony Ragucci was indicted last month on charges of wire fraud and filing false tax returns. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison. A trial date has not yet been set.

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. (WLS) -- Plastic bags covered what were among the most controversial red light cameras in the state.

The lights are at Route 83 and 22nd Street, just across from the Oakbrook Mall. They are no longer in service, which means drivers will no longer be getting tickets from them in the mail.


One ticket shows photos of a car allegedly going through the red light, along with the $100 fee. Kyla Ohst got it two weeks ago, just before IDOT shut the cameras down.

"It's fair to get a ticket, but $100 is a lot for something like that," Ohst said.

IDOT revoked the operating permit for the cameras, claiming the Village of Oakbrook Terrace failed to submit mandatory reports documenting safety at the intersection. The agency made no mention, however, of federal charges against the former mayor of Oakbrook Terrace for allegedly accepting bribes from the company that installed the cameras. Activists maintain the cameras should never have been there in the first place.

"Statistics show before they put the cameras here, it was relatively safe and there has not been any change in terms of safety after they placed the cameras here. This was put here so they could generate a lot of money," said Mark Wallace of Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras.

Blake Jacobs got a $100 red light camera ticket there last summer even though he said he's pretty certain he broke no laws.

"I thought I caught the light and I got a ticket in the mail three weeks later," Jacobs said.

Activists said Friday is a good day.

"A little justice for motorists and for the people of Oakbrook," Wallace said.

Former Oakbrook Terrace Mayor Tony Ragucci was indicted last month on charges of wire fraud and filing false tax returns. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison. A trial date has not yet been set.


One ticket shows photos of a car allegedly going through the red light, along with the $100 fee. Kyla Ohst got it two weeks ago, just before IDOT shut the cameras down.

"It's fair to get a ticket, but $100 is a lot for something like that," Ohst said.

IDOT revoked the operating permit for the cameras, claiming the Village of Oakbrook Terrace failed to submit mandatory reports documenting safety at the intersection. The agency made no mention, however, of federal charges against the former mayor of Oakbrook Terrace for allegedly accepting bribes from the company that installed the cameras. Activists maintain the cameras should never have been there in the first place.

"Statistics show before they put the cameras here, it was relatively safe and there has not been any change in terms of safety after they placed the cameras here. This was put here so they could generate a lot of money," said Mark Wallace of Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras.

Blake Jacobs got a $100 red light camera ticket there last summer even though he said he's pretty certain he broke no laws.

"I thought I caught the light and I got a ticket in the mail three weeks later," Jacobs said.

Activists said Friday is a good day.

"A little justice for motorists and for the people of Oakbrook," Wallace said.

Former Oakbrook Terrace Mayor Tony Ragucci was indicted last month on charges of wire fraud and filing false tax returns. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison. A trial date has not yet been set.

ABC7 has reached out to Oakbrook Terrace officials for comment.

IDOT issued a statement saying, "The Illinois Department of Transportation is committed to improving safety and continually works with our local government partners toward this shared goal. After review, the IDOT permit issued to Oakbrook Terrace to operate a red-light camera at Illinois 83 and 22nd Street is revoked due to failure to comply. Despite repeated requests, the city did not submit the post-installation analysis on the effectiveness of the camera system to improve safety at the intersection, as required by IDOT policy.

"The city has been instructed to deactivate the cameras immediately and apply within 15 days for the necessary permit to remove them.

"The existing IDOT policy was developed to assist local agencies to obtain a permit to install red-light cameras on roads under state jurisdiction. The policy also allows IDOT to remove such cameras if it is in the best interest of the motoring public."

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