Twenty-fifteen was a tough year for Redflex, the well-known and thoroughly-loathed Australian purveyor of corruption, bribery, and traffic-ticket cameras.
Although the firm’s US arm obtained a small victory in the $300 million lawsuit filed against it by the city of Chicago, getting the case transferred to federal court, Chicago is expanding the scope of its lawsuit in response. Meanwhile, smaller municipalities are abandoning Redflex in droves — and the numbers make it easy to see why.
Chicago wants $300 million from the company it hired to photograph, ticket and follow drivers after it was revealed that executives bribed city officials for the contract, the Chicago Tribune is reporting.
Executives for Redflex paid over $2 million to city officials through a bag man for the $124 million contract from the city, which started in 2003. City officials are suing for roughly triple that amount, including penalties.
It’s the kind of disgraceful corruption that would have seen its perpetrators swinging from a tree in a more forthright age: an alleged $2 million bribery program that has already seen a Redflex consultant plead guilty to charges of delivering over $570,000 in cash and other bribes to Chicago’s former managing deputy commissioner of transportation. (Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, who was long, ahem, a tireless ally of Redflex before reluctantly ending the city contract with the firm when all the evidence on the issue because too obvious to be ignored any further, was re-elected in a runoff election recently.)
Not just with cash, that’s horribly un-entertaining unless it involves getting busted F1 style. So like any good criminal, let me boast about my bounty of ill-gotten booty in a tale that’s sure to please.
Can you spot the reason for that “No Standing” sign?
This is a photograph taken recently at the Cadillac Place building, on West Grand Blvd just west of Woodward in Detroit. It used to be called the General Motors Building before GM decamped to the RenCen. To make sure that much office space (when it was built, the GM Bldg was the second largest in the world) wouldn’t go vacant in Detroit’s economically viable midtown area, the State of Michigan moved many of its Detroit area office workers into the renamed building. Some of those state employees work for the Michigan State Police, which has offices for their Detroit detachment on the Milwaukee Ave. side of the building. It’s not a full scale police post, there’s no public lobby, but it’s where state police hang out in Detroit when they aren’t busy protecting and serving the public, not to mention rescuing injured peregrine falcons. (Read More…)
Score one more for government control, corruption, and general silliness. New York’s TLC threw down the glove a while ago on the “Uber” application which allows taxi and “black car” drivers to arrange rides over the Internet. This isn’t the first time TLC has acted all crazy and stuff. Wait, wrong TLC. Oh well — the sentence two previous to this one applies even without the link.
You can’t fight City Hall — after all, this is the same commission which magically decided to replace every taxi in New York with Japanese minivans assembled in Mexico that didn’t actually exist at the time of the decision, and nobody said nothing, yo. No surprise, then, that Uber is leaving Gotham like Batman riding that bomb out to the ocean in the last Dark Knight film.
Volkswagen had unannounced visitors last week. German police raided eight offices in four German cities to secure evidence in a big corruption scandal, the Munich newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reports. According to the paper, managers of Deutsche Telekom had attempted to land a several hundred million Euro contract from Volkswagen by extending the sponsorship contract for the Wolfsburg soccer club VFL Wolfsburg. (Read More…)
Remember the Schadenfreude when the Department of Justice shook down Daimler for $185 million for corruption allegedly perpetrated in U.S. jurisdictions such as Russia, China, Turkey, Egypt, Nigeria, Iraq, Turkmenistan, and a host of others? To add insult to imbursements, Daimler even had to endure former FBI director and Lewinsky-sperm-on-blue-dress investigator Louis Freeh as anti-corruption compliance officer. In the bargain, the NYSE lost Daimler as a listing, because no NYSE listing, no more SEC probes. Everybody knows that these inducements are quite common in the industry. As evidenced by a massive raid involving around 100 police officers. They descended today on Ford’s German plants, on an unidentified company in Leverkusen and on the private homes of Ford employees. (Read More…)
Money-wise, the United States is in a bit of a tough spot. Must create revenue wherever it can. From red light cameras to shaking down foreign companies. On Tuesday, Germany’s Daimler AG was charged with violating U.S. bribery laws “by showering foreign officials with millions of dollars and gifts of luxury cars to win business deals,” as Reuters has it. After asking “how much will it take for this to go away?” Daimler plans to pay $185m to settle charges by the U.S. Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission. (Read More…)