5/11/2018Maryland, Virginia Schools Continue With School Bus Cameras
Despite federal corruption scandal with school bus cameras, local governments continues with auomated bus ticketing programs.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations continues to unravel the corruption scandal that has thus far brought two felony guilty pleas related to the multi-million-dollar school bus camera bribery scandal in Dallas, Texas. In October, FBI agents raided the Dallas office of Force Multiplier Solutions and the home of its CEO, Robert Leonard, gathering evidence of how the firm paid off the head of Dallas County Schools. The goal was to make millions from a deal that instead brought down the entire school system.
Several Washington, DC area school systems continue to do business BusPatrol, a company legally distinct from Force Multiplier Solutions. However, BusPatrol is headquartered at the same Lorton, Virginia, address as Force Multiplier, and the company's leadership team remains more or less the same -- minus Leonard.
On May 31, 2017, Force Multiplier gave up the Virginia business license that had been filed years earlier by Force Multiplier president David Poirier. Poirier is now the president of BusPatrol, which registered to do business in July. Canadian Derek Vincent lists himself in his LinkedIn page as the managing partner of Force Multiplier Solutions (Canada). He became the managing partner of BusPatrol and then left the company in February. Jean Souliere, president of Force Multiplier Solutions Canada is listed in Canadian business files as the director of BusPatrol Inc.
Manassas, Virginia, and Montgomery County, Maryland, both signed deals with Force Multiplier. Montgomery County has already switched to BusPatrol. Manassas officials did not respond to questions about whether its program continues, but the city's deal with Force Multiplier included an escape clause to ensure bus ticketing would always remain profitable.
"It is understood by the parties that this contract is contingent upon the school board receiving and continuing to receive funds sufficient to meet its obligations hereunder and that, notwithstanding any contrary provisions in the contract, the city may, at its option, terminate this contract without penalty if it fails to receive such funds," the city's contract with David Poirier states.
Force Multiplier agreed to supply Montgomery County with free installation of 1200 cameras by 2019 in the hopes of issuing enough of the $125 to $570 tickets to generate $18 million. In August 2015, Montgomery County officials including Todd Watkins, Richard Harrison and police Lieutenant Dave McBain traveled to Dallas where they met Superintendent Ricky Dale Sorrells, who awaits sentencing, and Leonard, who has not yet been charged.
"Shortly after this meeting it was decided to move forward with Force Multiplier Solutions as the future vendor for both school bus safety and automated stop arm enforcement," the county police explained in a powerpoint presentation on the program.
BusPatrol remains locked in a legal battle with American Traffic Solutions, which contemplated buying some of the bus camera assets from the Dallas County Schools dissolution committee.
A copy of the Force Multiplier and BusPatrol business records is available in a 700k PDF file at the source link below.
Note: This article has been updated.