Chicago Tribune reporter David Kidwell discusses the recent news that the company that is embroiled in a bribery scandal in Chicago, Redflex, is now facing repercussions in other cities across the country. (Posted on: April 11, 2013)

The relationship between Wagner and parish officials has led to several convictions, including one against the former parish president. None of the convictions or charges in the incident were related to the Redflex contract.

But amid disclosures about Wagner's lucrative commission deal, parish officials opted to suspend the red-light program and put all remaining proceeds from tickets into escrow. Redflex sued the parish for breaking the contract without cause, a case that has not yet been resolved.

As Redflex struggles to redefine its corporate culture and revitalize its U.S. business, the company is expanding into automated school bus cameras, which record motorists who illegally pass buses that are stopped to load and unload children.

Last May, just months before the scandal in its Chicago red-light program first broke, Redflex agreed to pay up to $7.4 million for a Rhode Island-based company that founded a program called SmartBus Live. The idea was to install cameras on the side of school buses to monitor cars that pass a bus while the stop arm is deployed. This new offshoot of Redflex is called Redflex Student Guardian.

According to Redflex, the company has been awarded 25 school bus contracts and 18 pilot programs in eight states: Rhode Island, Connecticut, Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Maine, Alabama and Washington.

Spearheading the company's grass-roots efforts to expand the bus camera prospects is the same Chicago public relations firm that figures prominently in Redflex's City Hall connections.

Resolute Consulting, headed by Emanuel's political ally and onetime campaign manager Greg Goldner, is the force behind the Redflex-funded not-for-profit Traffic Safety Coalition. The coalition is described in Redflex's annual reports as "a national grass-roots organization focused on promoting the merits of various traffic safety technologies."

Goldner's name first surfaced in connection to Redflex last year after Emanuel's successful push for his plan to install speed cameras that will tag speeders near school zones and parks throughout Chicago.

As part of his efforts to promote Redflex's expansion prospects, Goldner said, he hired Bills to work for the Traffic Safety Coalition soon after his retirement from City Hall in June 2011. Bills left the coalition in mid-2012.

dkidwell@tribune.com