JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A fired sales executive at Redflex Traffic Systems claims he was following orders when he bribed and paid for gifts and dinners for officials in order to obtain contracts. Redflex is the company that runs Jacksonville’s red-light camera program.
The allegations were first reported by the Chicago Tribune. Its reporting led to an internal investigation by Redflex that revealed that some employees may have used bribes to get Chicago's lucrative red-light camera contract.
Aaron Rosenberg, the company’s former executive vice-president for sales, was fired and sued after company officials blamed him for the scandal. In his countersuit, he claims he was just following orders to shower lavish gifts and bribes on local officials in 13 states including Florida.
“Redflex Traffic Systems denies the allegations in the counterclaim which are from Aaron Rosenberg, a former executive vice president, terminated for violating company policies and procedures,” said Jody Ryan, director of communications for Redflex Traffic Systems. “Redflex will aggressively defend itself against the allegations as well as prosecute its claims against the former executive. We are committed to transparency and honesty in our business practices. Our focus continues to be on providing best in class customer service and technology to our clients to make their communities safer.”
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office fired back at claims a lavish dinner in 2006 led to the approval of Redflex as Jacksonville’s red-light camera provider.
“Sheriff Rutherford does not recall attending the dinner or breakfast meeting referenced in the claim, nor does he have any documents regarding such meetings,” said Lauri-Ellen Smith, with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in a statement to Action News. “The actual award of the contract did not occur until five years later, in 2011, and was the result of a full and open RFP (request for proposals), conforming precisely to the requirements of Florida law and the City of Jacksonville procurement code.”
Smith said the office has asked for more information about the meals in question.
Action News legal analyst Randy Reep said vendors paying for meals is not necessarily illegal, but the appearance of impropriety is another black eye for the red-light camera program.
A hearing over whether to dismiss the counterclaim is set for next week in Arizona, where the suit was filed. The case could go to trial later this year, if there is no settlement.