Richmond, VA—The company the city of Richmond contracted to run the controversial red light camera program is dealing with its own share of controversy: Redflex is at the center of a bribery scandal tied to payoffs of an official in another city.
Red light cameras have been dubbed “eyes in the sky,” and some believe they will make drivers think twice before running a red light.
But Redflex, the company who will own and operate the red light cameras at Richmond intersections, is at the center of a scandal that has prompted a federal investigation.
Redflex is tied to a scandal in Chicago, wherein a public official was allegedly bribed. Chicago’s mayor has banned REdflex from competing for future camera programs. Redflex’s president and CEO has issued a statement touting their new leadership and the enactment of the highest ethical standards. Read the full statement here.
In an email dated March 4 obtained by 8News, Redflex representative Jody Ryan admitted that their own internal investigation revealed “certain employees participated in what authorities may consider a bribery scheme.” The email also says “Redflex provided vacation related expenses and other items of value.”
On the same day, Richmond Police Department’s public affairs head Gene Lepley emailed Mayor Dwight Jones’ press secretary Tammy Hawley about the scandal. He wrote “The 2 Redflex employees who were fired as a result of their shady dealings in Chicago were the same 2 people who negotiated the Richmond contract.”
Although Richmond City CAO Byron Marshall signed the contract with Reflex, Marshall declined to be interviewed by 8News, saying he was “unaware of the Redflex scandal until the second you told me about it.” He referred us to Press Secretary Tammy Hawley for more information about the issue.
When we reached out to Hawley, she directed us to Gene Lepley at the Richmond Police Department. We contacted Lepley, who told us to talk to Hawley. No one in city government seems willing to speak about the scandal.
Delegate Joe Morrissey, an outspoken opponent of red light camera, shared his view of the situation.
“When I said scam last year I was being generous compared to what we’ve now found out.”
Delegate Morrissey has introduced legislation to ban red light cameras in the Commonwealth, and now says the city should proceed with caution in its dealings with Redflex.
“What I’m asking is this: until the city of Richmond knows more about what’s going on, who negotiated the contract with the city of Richmond, what the details of that contract are, that no Redflex program be implemented in Richmond until we know full details.”
A statement from Tammy Hawley was received by 8News on Monday, March 25. It reads:
“We agree that this matter should be looked into. RPD has not implemented the program as of yet. At this time, we are asking the city attorney to review our legal rights to delay this contract until a proper investigation can be undertaken.”
Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond