Saturday, June 29, 2013

Speed Cameras Getting Slammed In Ohio

An Ohio judge has found the Town of Elmwood place in contempt for continuing to collect revenue from speed cameras the judge had ordered shut down, and has ordered Maryland Based Optotraffic's speed camera equipment seized.

Documents revealed that Optotraffic and the town continued corresponding after the judge ordered the program shut down, and that Optotraffic collected an additional $43,000 in fines after the prior ruling.  The judge ordered all fines collected since the ruling reimbursed.  According to a report on WCPO news Optotraffic had been subpoena'd to a court hearing regarding the claims, but their representative did not appear.

Meanwhile, A bill which would ban most speed and red light camera systems passed the Ohio House of Representatives on Wednesday.  The bill would still need to pass the Ohio senate and be signed by the governor for it to become law.  Read Text of Bill.

Among the documents from the Elmwood Place ruling was a letter from Maryland Based Optotraffic to their Ohio client urging them to testify against the speed camera ban bill.

The correspondence documented that speed camera companies were colluding to try to stop the bill.  Sales/Account Manager Joshua Hathaway for Maryland based Optotraffic wrote an April 15th letter to  CEO Mario Bohorquez and representative Mickey Shepherd: "I received a call from a legal representative from Redflex, Tamara Dietrich, who called to encourage us, if we have not already done so, to lobby against HB69.  She stated that she is accustomed to threats of legislation that try to restrict and/or ban ASE, however, this present effort in Ohio scares her".  Redflex is an Australian based photo enforcement company.  Bohorquez forwarded the email to Elmwood Place police Chief Peskin urging him to testify against the Ohio legislation.

Additionally, one of the emails included proof that Optotraffic wrote the "testimonial" which appears to have been made by the Elmwood Place police chief.  The email shows that Optotraffic wrote the statement, and then asked the police chief to agree to it.

Optotraffic's website contains "testimonials" from several of their Maryland based clients.

Additional Coverage: Ohio House Votes Overwhelmingly To Ban Traffic Cameras
WCPO: Elmwood Place collected $48,500 from speed camera tickets after judge ordered them shut down
WDTN news: Ohio House passes speed camera ban
Columbus Dispatch: Judge Slams Cincinnati suburb for keeping traffic cameras