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Ex-CEO of red light camera firm sentenced to 14 months for bribery
andrewbb (Oct 25, 2016)


Karen Finley described company as a "toxic and soul sucking place to work."

Glenn Koenig / Getty Images News

Karen Finley, former CEO of embattled red light camera vendor Redflex, was sentenced last week to 14 months in prison. Finley pled guilty last year to federal corruption charges in Ohio.

As prosecutors wrote in a statement in June 2015: on Friday:

From December 2005 to February 2013, Finley served as CEO of a red light camera enforcement company. As part of her plea agreement, Finley admitted that, between 2005 and 2013, she participated in a scheme in which the company made campaign contributions to elected public officials in the cities of Columbus and Cincinnati through a consultant retained by the company. According to admissions made in connection with her plea, Finley and others, including another executive of the company, agreed to provide the conduit campaign contributions with the understanding that the elected public officials would assist the company in obtaining or retaining municipal contracts, including a photo red light enforcement contract with the City of Columbus.


The federal judge overseeing the case rebuked Finley during the Wednesday hearing.



"This sort of crime goes to the very integrity of government," US District Judge Michael H. Watson told Finley, according to the Columbus Dispatch. "It certainly calls into question whether the competitive bidding process is real or a sham. At least with respect to your situation and Redflex's situation, it would appear this playing field was less than level. Indeed, one could fairly question whether this is the basis for the letting of other contracts in local government."

Finley also pleaded guilty to similar charges for a sour deal in Chicago in August 2015 and will be sentenced next month separately for that case.

The bagman in the Chicago deal, Martin O'Malley, was sentenced in September 2016 to six months after pleading guilty. By contrast, former Chicago city official John Bills took his case to trial and was sentenced last month to 10 years.

In a sentencing memorandum filed prior to the hearing, Finley wrote that she was “ashamed and angry at myself for behaving in a manner that was inconsistent with the way I have lived my entire life.”

She added that “Redflex was a toxic and soul sucking place to work. I worked over ten hours a day, almost every weekend and never saw my family.”

In December 2013, Ars reported on red light cameras nationwide and, in particular, Redflex's four cameras in the central California town of Modesto.

CYRUS FARIVARCyrus is the Senior Business Editor at Ars Technica, and is also a radio producer and author. His first book, The Internet of Elsewhere, was published in April 2011.EMAIL // TWITTER @cfarivar
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