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Ginther: 'Every Elected Official' Involved In Bringing Cameras to Columbus

Release of documents to show all elected officials had role in bringing red light cameras to Columbus.

The City of Columbus has released more than 1,000 pages of documents detailing the city’s relationship with red light camera company Redflex.

The documents were released at the request of Columbus City Council President Andrew Ginther, who has denied any wrong doing. 

Columbus City attorney Rick Pfeiffer released the documents on Wednesday, which include a chronology revealing how the effort to bring red light cameras to Columbus began in 2003. That's when Columbus Police began lobbying for red light cameras at intersections prone to crashes.

According to city documents, Lt. Jeff Blackwell was one of the chief advocates in the city for the cameras.

The City received proposals from six different companies that were overseen by a committee which included representatives from police and the mayor's office.

At that time, Assistant Safety Director Gary Holland said "key decision makers"  included "the safety director and mayor."

In 2004, city officials recommended Redflex be chosen. Council and the mayor agreed. 

Redflex's contract was later extended in 2009. Then in 2010, the city  doubled its original number of red light cameras from 20 to 40.

Lt. Blackwell left Columbus police and is now the Chief of Police in Cincinnati. He has declined to comment on this issue.

This chain of events became relevant again last month after former Redflex CEO Karen Finley pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe Columbus elected officials.

The documents released today were at the request of Columbus City Council President Andrew Ginther, who is the only council member to be linked in federal court documents to the red light company.

In a short statement Wednesday, Ginther noted how City Attorney Rick Pfeiffer determined that the contract was approved within the city's policies.

The documents released today also point to a fact that Ginther has pointed out. Council had a limited role with city contracts:   "According to the city attorney, Council voted to approve the Redflex contract in 2005, but did so only after Public Safety requested bids, evaluated the bids, chose the winning company, and negotiated a contract with that company."

Last week, Ginther denied having any knowledge about bribes, saying Finley incorrectly believed her bribes to a political consultant would make a difference in contracts with the City of Columbus. 

The democratic frontrunner in the city's mayoral race says he's taking action and “will not stand for this attack on our city government.”

10 Investigates asked Mayor Coleman to explain his previous statement that he was not involved in the Redflex pick.

The Mayor stood by his previous comment, adding he "was not involved in the research, procurement, or contracting process that ultimately selected Redflex as the vendor.”

 

More: Whistleblower: Redflex Had History Of Bribing Govt. Officials

Attorney: "Pay To Play" Was Common At Redflex

Photo Red Light Procurement Review