Feathered Bastard

ATS Drops Complaint Against Redflex with AZ DOA; Federal Suit Still On Like Donkey Kong

So far, this is still our fave way to fight Redflex's robotic photo enforcement sentinels.

Aussie photo enforcement firm Redflex is crowing like a stud rooster today, issuing a press release from Redflex flack Shoba Vaitheeswaran, announcing that its Scottsdale-based rival, American Traffic Solutions, has voluntary withdrawn its administrative challenge to Redflex's $20M contract award with the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Redflex nabbed the statewide contract in July, after a competitive bidding process nudged out ATS. ATS appealed the decision to the Arizona Department of Administration in August, claiming that Redflex was using radar not properly licensed for use in the U.S. According to a story in the Phoenix Business Journal, Redflex CEO Karen Finley (uh, not to be confused with the provocative performance artist by the same name), called the flub an "honest mistake."

ATS eventually filed suit in federal court, asking for an award of $100M, stating that Redflex was making false claims about its equipment. Today, ATS withdrew its administrative appeal, but left its mega-million dollar lawsuit standing. In a statement released this afternoon, ATS flack Josh Weiss stated the following:

"ATS has withdrawn its protest of the Arizona Department of Public Safety's award of the statewide photo enforcement program to Redflex, our Australian competitor. We still believe it was poor judgment for the State of Arizona to select a vendor who, by its own admission, was not in compliance with applicable federal laws that govern our industry and the use of radar equipment. But the program is up and running statewide and it would not be in the state's best interests to have to change vendors at the same time that Arizona is facing monumental financial challenges and a $1 billion-plus budget deficit."

Does that mean ATS is dropping the complaint out of the goodness of its mechanical heart? Not according to Redflex rep Vaitheeswaran, herself the recipient of Redflex photo enforcement tickets. (You know: Do as we say, not as we do, etc.) Vaitheeswaran said that previously the court had noted Redflex had not availed itself of an administrative challenge.

ATS flack Weiss replied that what Vaitheeswaran was referring to was an initial suit in state court, and he asserted that the federal action has no bearing on the administrative appeal, or vice versa.

In any case, like they say in Thailand, when elephants butt heads, it's the grass that suffers. And them blades of green include you and me, bubbee, 'cause it's us who have to pay the piper whenever one of those frickin' photo enforcement cameras pops off in our faces. No matter what company they belong to. 

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons