At the heart of the Columbus bribery scandal is Karen Finley the former CEO and President of Redflex cameras. According to a federal complaint, Finley greased the wheels with more than $80,000 in campaign contributions to Columbus officials in 2011.
She also funneled the cash to local Redflex consultant who then, according to sources, gave the money to Columbus elected officials.
One of those identified in federal documents and court records is Columbus City Council President and mayoral candidate Andrew Ginther.
A similar scheme - also involving Finley - was used in Chicago. In the Windy City, $2 million in kickbacks helped keep red light cameras running.
When the scheme was exposed in 2014, a whistleblower inside the company told the Chicago Tribune the payoffs were part of "a long-standing practice of providing government officials with lavish gifts and bribes."
He told the paper it was happening in cities in these 13 states (California, Washington, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Florida, New Jersey, Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia).
Calls to Finley, and her attorney were not returned.
Meanwhile, Redflex almost made headlines when in California when Sacramento County sheriff's deputies and California Highway Patrol officers accepted free meals worth thousands of dollars from the private company.
U.S. Department of Labor also investigated the company for outsourcing U.S. engineering jobs for cheaper Australian labor.
Tilden Katz, a spokesperson for Redflex sent the following statements:
"More than two years ago, Redflex released the findings of an extensive internal investigation into its contract with the City of Chicago and other areas of its business.
Redflex fully disclosed its internal investigation’s findings to the Justice Department and assisted DOJ’s investigation on the Ohio matter in a strictly confidential manner at the government’s request. Today, as a result of that investigation, Ms. Finley has pleaded guilty.
Redflex was not charged in this proceeding. Ms. Finley departed Redflex in early 2013.
The government’s actions are not a reflection of today’s Redflex, they are a reflection on the company’s past—a past that the company moved beyond over two years ago by taking specific, strong steps to improve compliance. Redflex’s focus remains on making a life-saving difference in the communities we serve. We are proud of the steps we’ve taken, and will continue to lead the industry in how public-private partnerships should be managed."