Speed Cam Contractor Redflex Accused Of Bribing Government Officials In 13 States
from the nothing-goes-faster-than-greased-wheels dept
Troubled and infamous traffic cam company Redflex is headed for even more trouble and infamy. In its relatively short history, Redflex has so far done the following:
- received an innovation award from the state of Arizona even as the state considered dumping the contractor
- pretty much admitted it ran cameras from 1997-2008 without proper FCC certification
- spent the first six months of 2013 removing more cameras than it installed, for a loss of $3.5 million in revenue
- had its camera systems in San Mateo and Santa Ana, CA declared to be in violation of California laws
- had to refund several thousand fines in Australia after clocking a woman driving at over 100 mph in a vehicle that couldn’t reach those speeds
- failed to deliver any data (not just “some” data — Redflex delivered nothing at all) on its cameras’ effectiveness to Denver city officials, thus violating its contract with the city
Given its history over the last half-decade or so, it should come as no surprise that Redflex’s ability to secure new contracts allegedly relies on illegal tactics.
A fired executive from a national red-light camera vendor claimed in an Arizona lawsuit that the company provided lavish gifts and bribes to government officials in 13 states to secure new contracts.
The New Jersey Star-Ledger reported Saturday that the bombshell allegations made a 13-page counterclaim by Aaron Rosenberg, former nationwide lead salesman for Redflex Traffic Systems of Phoenix, claimed that the firm “bestowed gifts and bribes on … officials in dozens of municipalities within, but not limited to the following states: California, Washington, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Florida, New Jersey, Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia.”
Rosenberg claimed Redflex bribed local officials with meals, golf outings and tickets to professional football and baseball games, calling the expenses “entertainment” or “celebratory tokens.”
Rosenberg lost his job after Redflex was banned from competing for contracts in Chicago by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Apparently, even notoriously corrupt municipalities have their limits.
“Redflex was fired in Chicago for corruption. Nobody gets fired for corruption in Chicago,” said Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth), an outspoken critic of the cameras in New Jersey, who called for an investigation.
(Chicagoans should note that the contractor being considered for new speed cams, Xerox State and Local Solutions, is technically no better, albeit less tainted by outright corruption. Xerox’s cameras in Baltimore had a 10-26% error rate when audited, meaning the contractor issued up to 70,000 erroneous tickets in 2012 alone.)
Redflex has, of course, denied this and vows to “aggressively defend” itself against these claims. But this latest claim won’t do much to salvage its almost completely destroyed reputation. Redflex isn’t alone in its troubles. Contractors and camera systems are facing intense backlash across the nation, especially as evidence of faulty cameras, backroom deals and general incompetence continues to surface.
The accusations against Redflex can hardly be considered a surprise, considering the symbiotic relationship between contractors and city governments that tends to form when a new source of revenue is spotted. As long as the cameras issue tickets and the tickets continue to be paid, no one involved at the city level has much reason to examine the inner workings very closely. And if they’ve been plied by tickets to sporting events and rounds of golf, it makes it that much easier to drown out the complaints of constituents.