Orange County on Tuesday turned down the highest bidder for its red light camera operations over concerns about an investigation into a bribery scandal in Chicago. The CEO of Redflex, Robert DeVincenzi, came to the County Commission and did not dispute any of the findings done in an internal audit of the company.
Orange County Commissioner Ted Edwards told his fellow board members that Redflex will not be allowed to bid on future contracts with Chicago after they were found to have given an improper hotel stay to a city employee.
"Redflex disclosed this information. They also disclosed that there's an investigation of two other geographies without defining what a geography is other than its not in Orange County. It's not in the state of Florida."
Redflex says everyone involved in the Chicago investigation has either been fired or resigned, but that was not enough to appease Commissioner Fred Brummer. He and 3 others voted against giving the contract to Reflex, even though that company was rated as the highest bidder by Orange County.
"To me, it would have been ghastly to award them a $15 million contract when they have just had to incise their highest level management, because of the corruption that's out there."
Instead, the commissioner selected second ranked bidder ATS, the same company which provides red light camera service for the City of Orlando. DeVincenzi would not say afterwards that owning up to the company's mistakes in Chicago cost his company the $15 million contract in Orange County.
"We think that we represent a benchmark of transparency and open communication that will benefit any public and private collaboration," he said.
When Orlando Sentinel reporter David Damron asked, "Did that cost you business today?" DeVincenzi replied, "I respect the conclusions that the commissioners reached today."
Because Redflex offered the most money to Orange County to run the service, selecting ATS over Redflex will cost taxpayers $880,000 over the life of the 4-year contract.