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Rhode Island: Nestor Campaign Cash Helps Land No-Bid Contract
Nestor gives $13,600 in campaign cash to mayor of Cranston, Rhode Island. Nestor receives no-bid contract for speed camera ticket program.

Stephen LaffeyIn May, Mayor Stephen Laffey of Cranston, Rhode Island approved a no-bid contract with Nestor Traffic Systems to create a mobile speed camera ticketing operation -- the first of its kind in New England. City council members were never shown the details of the contract. New documents prove that top officials with Nestor have donated thousands to Laffey's U.S. Senate campaign, coinciding with the contract which provides the camera vendor a lucrative 30 percent bounty on every ticket issued.

Both the company and the mayor are in need of money. Nestor owes its creditors $59.1 million while Laffey needs to fill his campaign warchest for a Republican primary challenge to Senator Lincoln Chafee.

According to Federal Election Commission records, George L. Ball, non-executive chairman of Nestor gave $1000 to Laffey's campaign. He owns 16,250 shares of Nestor stock. James Scott Bennett was on Nestor's board until June and donated $8400 to Laffey through family members. He owns 9,533 Nestor shares. William B. Danzell, Nestor's president and CEO gave $4200. Together, at least $13,600 has been donated by individuals who would gain financially by the contract's approval. Excluding loans, this amounted to six percent of Laffey's cash on hand, as of September 30.

Source: Council members: Nestor contract stinks (Cranston Herald (RI), 11/10/2005)

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