For the past year Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc., one of the two big players in the red-light camera industry, has been embroiled in a bribery scandal in Chicago. The company, according to news reports, treated a senior transportation official to lavish vacations and had an unusually close relationship with bureaucrats at City Hall.
The allegations of wrongdoing were generally confined to the Windy City -- until last week, when the Chicago Tribune reported that a fired Redflex executive was accusing the company of performing similar favors for officials in "dozens of municipalities" in 13 states, including Texas.
The claims were contained in a defamation suit filed by Aaron Rosenberg, formerly the company's top national salesman, who says Redflex unfairly made him a "scapegoat" for the Chicago scandal. (After firing him, Redflex sued Rosenberg for damages. The case is ongoing.)
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Rosenberg doesn't go much deeper than that, leaving it up to the reader of the suit to speculate about where the alleged bribes went or whether the claims amount to anything more than a jilted employee trying to get back at the company that canned him.
Redflex has a big local presence. Dallas contracts with its competitor, American Traffic Solutions, for its red-light-enforcement program, but Richardson, Plano, Balch Springs, Coppell, Duncanville, Grand Prairie, Mesquite, Roanoke and probably others all use Redflex.
So did Redflex officials illegally wine and dine the Balch Springs city manager? Were Duncanville council members treated to lavish vacations? Probably not. The company has denied Rosenberg's allegations, and those places are small potatoes compared with Chicago, which is the company's largest customer. But is it another reason to detest red-light cameras? Absolutely.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.