CLEVELAND -- An Australian company that's at the center of a growing bribery scandal is a finalist to operate Cleveland's traffic camera program, Channel 3 News has learned.
Redflex Traffic System, Inc. is under federal investigation in Chicago and is being thrown to the curb by Mayor Rahm Emanuel after Redflex released the results of an internal investigation.
Redflex admitted in February that an employee and a consultant lavished the manager running Chicago's traffic camera program with 17 all-expenses paid vacations, computers, golf, and fine dining, at a cost of $20,000.
The company also discovered that the consultant kicked back some of his $2 million fee to the program manager.
Finally, Redflex admitted in March that it is investigating similar allegations in two other cities.
"It raises red flags," said Cleveland Councilman Mike Polensek. "If they've been involved in bribing public officials or public administrators, I don't believe they should even be in the running for a contract."
Channel 3 found that Redflex employee Aaron Rosenberg has been directly involved with the company's bid here in Cleveland -- he's the same Aaron Rosenberg at the center of the Chicago scandal.
"The guy knew his stuff," said Project Manager Larry Jones, who is overseeing the contract bidding process in Cleveland.
Jones said the city is currently looking at the finalist's camera systems and services, but it would eventually look at the company culture of the three finalists.
"How they conduct themselves, how they govern themselves, will somehow reflect what the City of Cleveland stands for," said Jones.
Redflex says it has changed top leaders as a result of its investigation and instituted ethics-related training. It also said the problems did not affect the quality of its products and services.
Channel 3 also found the other two contenders for Cleveland's camera program contract have problems of their own.
Xerox, which currently runs Cleveland's traffic camera program, is in trouble in Baltimore after the local newspaper there found city and company officials knew a traffic camera was inaccurate but failed to shut it down.
Meanwhile, the third finalist, Automated Traffic Solutions, recently settled 16 class-action lawsuits in New Jersey over the shortening of yellow-light times to catch more drivers.
"If we're going to have red light cameras," said Polensek, "the company behind them has to be a stand up company without any cloud over their head."