Redflex, a major leader in the field of un-American crash-inducing technology, is being sued by Chicago for more than $300 million for allegedly bribing city officials to secure contracts for its red light cameras.
The Chicago Tribune reports Redflex allegedly offered former Department of Transportation manager John Bills $2 million worth of kickbacks. Redflex CEO Karen Finely has already pled guilty on bribery charges.
As Chicago has done more than its eight seconds at the graft rodeo over the years, the municipality required Redflex to sign multiple contracts promising not to engage in bribery as part of their vendor agreement. The city is seeking damages three times the value of its $124 million contract plus individual civil penalties between $5,000 and $10,000 for every time Redflex gave them a false statement.
But, as evil business school teaches, you should always leverage your bribery with a little extortion. Unproven, allegedly, etc. The company’s cameras have been implicated in issuing about 13,000 undeserved tickets in 2014 alone.
What’s uncertain is how many accidents they might have caused. An earlier Tribune story found that while red light cameras from all manufacturers did cut right-angle crashes and injuries by 15 percent, they also led to a 22 percent increase in rear-end collisions.
Because people tend to get pissed off when they’re sure you’re cheating them out of money, 2015 has seen a lot of blowback. The Missouri Supreme Court recently ruled that several Show Me State towns were using unconstitutional laws to regulate the cameras — such as putting the burden of proof on whomever the car was registered to without evidence they were driving when the camera caught their license plate — while in Long Island, Stephen Ruth was arrested last month for a series of videos showing people how to disable the cameras with a painter’s pole.
Redflex responded to the suit Monday in an email to ArsTechnica: “We took strong action more than two years ago, conducting an internal investigation, announcing new leadership, cooperating with law enforcement and taking powerful, specific steps to improve compliance. The new Redflex proudly serves 170 communities around the country. We will continue to lead the industry in how public-private partnerships should be managed.” Maybe by manufacturing something useful? We could use more clown guns.