For a calendar year, revelations about Redflex’s shady and illegal business practices have been fed to the public through a steady diet of damning admissions. Journalist David Kidwell of the Chicago Tribune has written about the subject comprehensively.[link to archives]
During the period since the first blockbuster article by Kidwell in March of 2013, Redflex has been hemorrhaging contracts and money, but curiously not in Arizona, which houses the Australian-based camera vendor’s U.S. headquarters.
Paradise Valley, AZ could not have turned a more blind eye to the corruption as they not only renewed with Redflex in 2013 for a whopping 5 years, but agreed to double the size of their contract and hardly even considered using a different vendor, such as American Traffic Solutions (ATS), who also operates nearby in Scottsdale.
Phoenix, AZ also renewed their contract with Redflex without even putting the issue up for public debate, which they later admitted was improper (code language for “illegal”).
Now that Redflex and their designated scapegoat, Aaron Rosenberg, have exchanged lawsuits it’s starting to become clearer that bribery wasn’t just an issue in Chicago, but “Standard Operating Procedure” for the camera vendor.
The former EVP, Rosenberg has not taken too kindly to the remaining brass at Redflex blaming all their transgressions on him and him alone. He’s firing back, not by proclaiming his innocence, but by presenting evidence that he was just a cog in Redflex’s bribery machine.
It’s getting ugly, real ugly.
With just a few pages released by Rosenberg’s attorneys, we now have black and white evidence that shows illegal campaign contributions and gifts being used to sway politicians and party officials in Florida and Arizona. More info will be released from Rosenberg’s side, but probably not until summer of 2014. [Lawsuit]
Here’s what we know so far:
Arizona – Illegal campaign contributions to both the Arizona Democrat and Republican Parties by Mr. Rosenberg that was reimbursed by Redflex and signed off on by then-CEO Karen Finley.
Florida – Two dozen state legislators and their wives were invited to an expensive dinner at Morton’s Steakhouse, which was paid for by the company and not reported. Internal emails and expense reports show the dinner cost over $3,200.00.
And this is just the beginning. Rosenberg is alleging bribery was all part of the standard ops in 13 states.
The latest from the Chicago Tribune foreshadows what’s to come:
In his counterclaim against Redflex, Rosenberg said he was simply “carrying out orders” and that other company executives also participated in a “pattern and practice” of wooing potential clients with perquisites including meals, golf outings, professional football and baseball games — all covered under a liberal company policy for “entertainment” expenses.
“A budget for these items was approved, and there was never a distinction between these types of entertainments and expenses that are considered gratuities and bribes,” Rosenberg alleged in the filing.
Rosenberg said that during his tenure Redflex “bestowed gifts and bribes on company 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.”
Arizona and Florida seem to be a main focus of Rosenberg and his attorneys and for good reason. Arizona is the hub, where the executives are housed and will almost certainly be where most of the bodies are buried. After all, Redflex “won” the competition with ATS for the statewide freeway photo radar contract from 2008-2010 and it certainly took more than just a convincing slide show to woo Janet Napolitano and the state legislature, who looked the other way while she jammed this massive program into a byline on the state’s budget.
Of course, Arizona Legislators in 2008 were way too ethical to accept bribes, right? Well actually, they would beg to differ with that – [Fiesta Bowl bribery scandal]