4/1/2010Redflex Issues Threatening Letter To Jefferson Parish, Louisiana
Australian traffic camera company demands millions of dollars from Jefferson Parish, Louisiana by Thursday.
Jefferson Parish, Louisiana has until 4pm today to meet the demands of Redflex Traffic Systems, the company that until January operated red light cameras and speed cameras for the local government. The Australian firm is absolutely furious that parish officials have withheld payment while the program faced lawsuits from citizens and corruption probes from federal investigators. Redflex insisted that the "millions of dollars" owed must be deposited in the Redflex accounts before the close of business today.
"Remit to the company all outstanding proceeds of the program due," attorney Douglas R. Holmes demanded on behalf of Redflex. "This remittance should include any and all costs, penalties and interest. Additionally, Redflex demands that the parish reactivate the red light camera program, which we contend was clearly suspended without cause or justification under the terms of the agreement... In the event the parish fails to comply with these demands, Redflex will have no choice but to seek legal action to protect its financial and reputational interest."
Although Jefferson Parish officials signed up for automated ticketing in 2007, those leaders have since resigned in disgrace in the wake of a widening scandal involving bribery and fraud. Interim Parish President Stephen Theriot suspended the red light camera program after documents revealed that Redflex paid 3.2 percent of its revenue from ticket proceeds to lobbyist Bryan Wagner, a former New Orleans city councilman, who shared the funds with the wife of District Judge Robert Murphy. Wagner was set to earn an estimated $90,000 a year from his cut of the photo tickets. Jay Morris Specter, the lobbyist who hired Wagner on behalf of Redflex, is currently serving time for fraud at Edgefield Federal Correctional Institution in South Carolina with an expected release date of September 21. Redflex insists the company has not been tainted its association with Specter and others.
"Jefferson Parish and local and out-of-town media have insinuated that Redflex has done something wrong, perhaps illegal, relative to our local operations, yet to date there has been absolutely no formal allegation that Redflex has done anything illegal or improper," Holmes wrote. "Opponents of red light cameras in general, as well as Redflex competitors who utilized their own consultants to pursue the parish contract, have used this cloud of suspicion created by the parish and the media to discourage other jurisdictions from using Redflex services and technologies."
The Redflex demand followed a March 24 letter from the parish announcing that an outside firm would audit the red light camera contract to investigate any irregularities. A study by the Journal of Trauma published last month found no evidence that photo enforcement produced any significant safety benefit in Jefferson Parish.
A copy of the letter is available in a 130k PDF file at the source link below.