Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) said today that he is asking U.S Attorney Paul Fishman to open criminal investigations into the municipal clients of Redflex Traffic Systems, an Arizona based red light camera company, due to legal claims by a former executive that the company routinely bribed municipal officials in 13 states, including New Jersey, in order to obtain the lucrative contracts to operate camera systems that issue summonses for red light infractions.
Additionally, O’Scanlon is writing to Assembly Transportation Committee Chairman John Wisniewski to ask that the committee open an investigation into New Jersey’s red light camera program in light of the recent bribery allegations and scientific proof commissioned by O’Scanlon that red light cameras are a detriment to public safety that are rigged to cheat motorists.
Wisniewski’s Assembly committee conducted the investigation into the George Washington Bridge lane closures that exposed members of Governor Christie’s staff and campaign, as well as two Port Authority officials, involvement in the lane closures last September. A joint Senate and Assembly committee co-chaired by Wisniewski and Senator Loretta Weinberg is continuing the Bridgegate inquiry.
Aaron Rosenberg, formerly the top sales executive for Redflex, alleged in a civil lawsuit that the company doled out bribes and gifts to dozens of municipal officials, according to a story first reported by The Chicago Tribune. Rosenberg said he is cooperating on an ongoing federal investigation.
Redflex’s $100 million contract with Chicago has been terminated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The company continues to operate in Chicago until a replacement is chosen.
“Red light camera corruption, overt bribery and the inherent systematic corruption of the program, have a huge, negative impact on the motorists of New Jersey, ” O’Scanlon said, “There is sufficient evidence to suggest that New Jersey’s red light camera program is government sanctioned theft that systematically puts motorists lives and property at risk for the benefit of out of state crooks.”
“I’ve been saying this for years now,” O’Scanlon stated. “The companies are not about safety or improving traffic, they are about the almighty dollar and they will stop at nothing to get it. We can’t trust anything they say as they work to game the political system to ensure their lucrative public contracts are safe.”
“I’ve spent the duration of New Jersey’s red-light camera program proving that these companies will twist accident numbers and tamper with yellow-light timing to convince the public that they are serving a noble purpose,” O’Scanlon said. “But the truth is much more nefarious, companies like Redflex will do anything to get a contract. They have donated tens of thousands of dollars to lawmakers’ campaign funds here in New Jersey alone. These red light camera companies are not good corporate citizens; they are the worst kind of businesses who stop at nothing to ensure a profit.”
“Of course when the basic premise of your business model is based on a lie – that red light cameras provide any public benefit – then I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the companies would feel any compunction to be honorable at any level.”
MMM learned from a Redflex employee that the company actively operates cameras in the New Jersey municipalities of Cherry Hill, Edison, Newark, New Brunswick, Springfield and Stratford. We left a message with the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s communications office with the named contacts, Joe Dee or Steve Shapiro, for confirmation. Neither Dee nor Shapiro have returned our call.
New Jersey’s red light camera program expires at the end of this year, unless the legislature and the governor extend it.
A recent report by WatchdogWire revealed that the camera operator in Piscataway, American Traffic Solutions, keeps 46% of the citation revenue generated by Middlesex County Township’s cameras. The Piscataway revenue totaled $4.2 million from November 2011 through November 2013. O’Scanlon said that in many cases, the red light camera company keeps over half of the revenue.