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Former Burien Red Light Camera Firm Redflex Faces ‘Bribery’ Issues

by Jack Mayne [1]

Redflex Traffic Solutions, the company that once provided red light photo enforcement cameras in Burien, and currently does in SeaTac, says an internal corruption investigation has found “potential issues” involving contracts in Chicago and two other U.S. cities, but it didn’t provide further details.

Redflex Holdings is the Australian parent company of the Phoenix-based photo-enforcement company, says Redflex Traffic Solutions has been embroiled in a bribery scandal in Chicago, which has prompted termination of the firm’s executive vice president and resignations of three other top executives. The problems were reported in the Phoenix New Times, a weekly newspaper in the Arizona city .

SeaTac is in the middle of the second two-year renewal of its contract with Redflex, and it expires in March of 2014. The original three-year contract began in 2006, said Police Chief James Graddon.

“Redflex did inform us recently of this issue,” Graddon said. “We appreciated their candor and we are monitoring the situation to see if any action would be warranted.”

Burien dropped its contract with Redflex over a year ago.

The Phoenix New Times reported on Thursday that Redflex will lose what the Chicago Tribune calls its “lucrative” red-light-camera contract with Chicago when it expires in June “and it is banned from vying for that city’s upcoming photo-radar contract designed to nab speeding motorists.”

The Chicago contract is its biggest in North America and is worth about 13 percent of the “worldwide revenue for Redflex Holdings,” the Chicago Tribune reported.

“Since 2003, it has generated about $100 million for Redflex and more than $300 million in ticket revenue for the city,” the Chicago paper reported.

The New Times said the company fired Aaron Rosenberg, its California-based executive vice president of business development on Feb. 20.

“President and CEO Karen Finley and chief financial officer Sean Nolen resigned on Feb. 25. A few days later, Andreis Bunkse resigned as the firm’s top attorney. All three worked in the company’s Phoenix headquarters,” the Phoenix New Times said.

In a report to the Australian Securities Exchange, Redflex described the scheme involved in the scandal as an “arrangement” between John Bills, a Chicago employee managing the city’s red-light-camera program, and a Redflex consultant who “likely intended” to funnel payments from the consultant to the manager.

Redflex’s contract with the City of Burien was severed in February of 2012 (read our previous coverage here [2]). From May 1, 2009, through 2011, Burien collected $592,440 in revenue from fines paid by red light scofflaws at the three city intersections where cameras were installed. But Redflex’s costs were $611,413, for a net deficit to the city of -$18,973.

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