Fraud Suit Came Long After Whistle, Judge Says

     CHICAGO (CN) — A company accused of bribing its way into a lucrative Chicago contract persuaded a federal judge that the former employee suing it is no whistleblower.
     Redflex Traffic Systems has for years been battling allegations that bribes greased the wheels for its contract maintaining Chicago’s red-light-camera system.
     Criminal proceedings into the matter are ongoing, but former Redflex official Aaron Rosenberg tried to sue the company in civil court on behalf of the city of Chicago.
     When such lawsuits are successful, the whistleblower is eligible for a hefty portion of any damages award.
     Chicago intervened in Rosenberg’s suit last year, so the fraud claims against Redflex will move forward regardless of Rosenberg’s involvement, but the company lobbied nevertheless to have Rosenberg booted from the case.
     U.S. District Judge John Tharp noted Monday that spite seems to be at least a partial motivator for Redflex’s motion to dismiss Rosenberg from the case.
     After all, it is Redflex’s view “that Rosenberg is now seeking to profit from the actions he took that caused the company to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in business and exposed it to substantial potential liability in this lawsuit,” the 36-page opinion states.
     Tharp agreed with the company that Rosenberg cannot cast himself as a whistleblower given the long public scrutiny of Redflex.
     By the time Rosenberg filed his suit under seal in April 2014, the Chicago Tribune had already “published dozens of articles concerning the contracts and the relationships between” Redflex and DOT official John Bills, Tharp noted.
     U.S. District Judge John Tharp noted Monday that 2014 false-claims suit against Redflex by its former officer, Aaron Rosenberg,
     Rosenberg, whom Redflex fired in February 2013, is already cooperating with a federal investigation into the scheme as part of an immunity agreement, according to the ruling.
     Tharp emphasized that “Rosenberg’s status as a party, of course, has no bearing on his role as a witness in the case.”
     A jury convicted Bills of bribery in January 2016, and Karen Finley, the former CEO of Redflex, pleaded guilty in connection to the scheme as well.

%d bloggers like this: