More Bribery Allegations Surface In Chicago's Red Light Camera Program
By Kevin Robinson in News on Jan 23, 2014 11:00PM
Photo by Tripp
The city’s beleaguered red light camera program might be in for another round of controversy, if allegations by a disgruntled former employee of Chicago’s vendor is to be believed. According to the Tribune, Aaron Rosenberg, the company’s top national salesman who was later fired by Redflex, claims that he’s been working with federal authorities on what has become a far-reaching investigation into allegations of bribery. In 2012 the Tribune exposed what appears to be a $2 million bribery scheme in Chicago, resulting in Redlex losing its $100 million contract with Chicago, the largest in both the company and North America. City officials have nonetheless extended Redflex’s contract three times, while they work to transition Chicago’s red light cameras over to Xerox, the new vendor for the program.
While light on details, Rosenberg claims in a lawsuit filed against Redflex that the company terminated his employment in an attempt to coverup long-standing practices of “providing government officials with lavish gifts and bribes.” Rosenberg claims that while the bribery scandal resulted in the company sacking six of its top executives, he was only “carrying out orders by participating in a “pattern and practice” of wooing government officials with liberal use of the company’s entertainment expense account. "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 claims. Included in Rosenberg’s filing are emails about a $3,235.74 steak dinner for over a dozen government officials at a conference.
For its part Redflex says there is basis to Rosenberg’s claims. "Those responsible for violations of company policy and misconduct are no longer employed by the company. We are pleased that the market has responded favorably to our corrective actions and our continuing commitment to customer service: since March we have signed, renewed or executed over 90 contracts," board member Robert T. DeVincenzi said in a statement to the Tribune. As part of the fallout from the Tribune’s initial investigation and report, former City of Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman found that Redflex paid more than $2 million to its Chicago-based consultant in an arrangement that was likely intended to funnel cash to a city Department of Transportation manager. Redlex acknowledged in its summary report on the scandal that the “highly suspicious arrangement” would probably “be considered bribery by the authorities.”