Former Redflex Executive: We Bribed Politicians in 13 States

February 9, 2014

WarOnDriving.com

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]

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Arizona and Florida Introduce Red Light Camera Bans

January 11, 2011

The first day of legislative cycles have begun in Arizona and Florida.

Bill sponsors and their cosponsors in both states are extremely confident that red light cameras will be turned off and taken down by year’s end. The recent election results in 2010 that saw several cities ban the red light ticketing scam continue to prove that the system is extremely unpopular.

The two operators of the ticketing machines, Redflex Traffic Systems and American Traffic Solutions are currently tied up in lawsuits in which both are suing their own customers, the cities they operate in.

Adding to the woes of Redflex, in particular, would be the requirement that they notify their shareholders of the impending bans in Arizona and Florida. Events like this tend to have a negative impact on stock prices and the timing couldn’t be worse for Redflex, which is currently up for sale.

2011 is not off to a good start for automated ticketing pushers.


Oh, (no) Snap! Red Light for Red Light Cams

August 11, 2010

Orlando, Florida is now potentially on the hook for over $4 million in refunds after a judge rules the ticketing scheme to be invalid.

LaserCraft was the initial vendor for Orlando, until American Traffic Solutions purchased the Georgia company in June of this year. ATS has automated ticketing operations throughout Central and South Florida, as well as a vested interest in tolling.

In a rare example of honor among thieves, Redflex has refused to operate cameras in the Sunshine State, calling such operations “illegal.” (Update: No such thing as honor among thieves; Redflex proceeded to bid on contracts in Homestead, FL despite their own securities statement acknowledging such schemes to be illegal.)

Video: MyFoxOrlando: Red light cameras violate law.


St. Ptb Times: “Put The Brakes On Red light Cams”

September 24, 2009

postitFrom the St. Petersburg Times:

Florida local governments are trying to find new revenues as tax collections decline, but hopefully Tarpon Springs is not so desperate for cash that it will install red light cameras and issue expensive tickets to residents and visitors just to shore up the city budget.

During a recent City Commission budget session, Mayor Beverley Billiris suggested installing red light cameras to provide new revenue, saying, “There are cities making $15,000 a week off those things.” […]

There are even broader concerns about red light cameras.

When it comes to safety, there is not universal agreement that the cameras reduce collisions… If the goal is to reduce intersection crashes, better results are obtained by lengthening the time the light stays yellow as well as building in a slightly longer pause before the cross street’s light turns green. […]

Lawsuits have been filed against local governments because of such issues. Local governments in Florida are among those now fighting lawsuits — and incurring legal fees.

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of red light camera use is that local governments may become so dependent on the revenue that they are tempted to toy with traffic light timing to increase the flow of dollars. San Diego and Dallas were accused of shortening the yellow light cycle on traffic lights so more motorists would be caught running red lights. Such behavior belies the claim that the goal is to improve safety.

Read entire article…


ATS Accused of Destroying Records in Florida

September 20, 2009

American Traffic Solutions or Above The Statutes, Inc?

American Traffic Solutions or Above The Statutes, Inc?

American Traffic Solutions, the besieged automated ticketing vendor, is in trouble with the law again in Florida.

Already facing a class-action lawsuit regarding constitutional issues in the Sunshine State, the news now is ATS has violated state law by destroying records:

The Florida Attorney General’s Office says video footage is a public record even if it is collected by a private company, like Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions, if the company is contracted by a government agency.

And officials with the Florida Division of Library and Information Services say companies like that have to comply with the state’s record-retention schedule, which requires that the videos be kept for at least 30 days.

So, how does ATS handle challenges to its ticketing scheme? Blame the client: the city!

ATS and city officials Thursday pointed to each other as the party responsible for maintaining the videos.

But City Attorney Tim McCausland said ATS is the custodian of the records and that the company is responsible for being versed in Florida public records law, which the company agreed to abide by in its contract with the city.

Be warned council members, city managers, mayors, and project administrators: Theft through automated ticketing will always come back to haunt you, and the vendor will be laughing all the way to the bank.

(And re-election is never that far off…)


RED LIGHT: ATS Future Uncertain in Florida

August 26, 2009

meddlingkids

James Tuton, ATS CEO (left), busted for lawbreaking thievery in this undated file photo.

…And they would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for those meddling kids laws. Of course, Breaking the law while pretending to enforce it (for profit) is business as usual for American Traffic Solutions.

The headlines say it all. Miami Herald: “Legal challenges mount for Florida’s red-light cameras.” Daytona Beach News-Journal: “Red-light camera lawsuit looms.” Naples News: “[Suit claims] red-light cameras are unconstitutional.”

Jason Weisser, a West Palm Beach-based attorney, is filing a class action lawsuit in each of the 22 Florida municipalities that have recently installed red-light cameras or similar technology, claiming they are unconstitutional.

The officials getting sued seem to agree:

“Yeah, they have a legitimate claim,” County Attorney Jeff Klatzkow said. “I’m not saying they have a winning claim. Ultimately it will be up to a court to determine.”

Weisser says that counties and cities have no business passing laws about red-light running, which he says is the state’s responsibility. Collier County has installed 12 cameras since early April and has issued hundreds of $125 citations.

In Florida, local money-grubbing municipalities ignore state law to install automated ticketing machines— also known as deadly red light cameras— by sending out local “code violation” tickets. The article from Naples News continues:

The state does not allow red-light running cameras on state property, and the cameras used in cities and counties are not allowed to issue traffic citations. Instead, the municipalities that utilize the cameras mail out code violations to the owners of vehicles caught on camera running red lights.

As Shaggy would say:  “Zoinks, it’s the creepy coin collector again!” Except all that coin they’re collecting might have to be refunded as the tide continues to turn against photo radar, red light cameras, and city officials who choose to conspire with private corporations against their constituents.


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