Good news for Andy Ginther. Weeks after the Columbus City Council president’s name was linked to a bribery scandal involving the awarding of city contracts to a red light camera vendor, one investigation holds a positive conclusion for the mayoral candidate.
It all began weeks ago when the former CEO of a company called Redflex admitted guilty to charges of bribery and fraud. Court records reportedly showed Ginther’s name in connection with the matter. The city council president denied any wrongdoing and called for the city attorney’s office and Coleman administration to investigate the awarding of city contracts to Redflex. On Wednesday, Columbus City Attorney Richard C. Pfeiffer Jr released the documents of his investigation.
The report states that the idea for red light cameras in Columbus began with the Division of Police Traffic Bureau and that division directed the awarding of the contract to Redflex. In his conclusion, Pfeiffer says “it is my opinion that the process by which the Redflex contract was awarded and subsequently modified was in compliance with the requirements of the City Code.”
What the report doesn’t address, and wouldn’t have necessarily any reason to address, are reports that a request for a Ginther campaign contribution was made of Redflex and that the money may have been funneled through the Ohio Democratic Party to the Ginther campaign to hide its trail. The candidate denies knowledge of that reported event. In regards to the report of the city attorney, Ginther issued this brief statement on social media:
Two weeks ago, I asked City Attorney Pfeiffer to conduct an independent review of city contracts regarding Redflex. Today, he reconfirmed city laws were followed in awarding the contracts.
– Columbus City Council President Andrew Ginther
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Previous: Bribery scandal: Ginther calls for twin investigations 6/23/15
City Council President and leading candidate for mayor Andrew Ginther continues to contend with allegations made public that he is linked to a bribery scandal involving a red light camera company (Redflex) with city contracts. On Friday, Ginther released a statement denying the allegations and calling for an investigation. Ginther has begun this week by reaching out with a new statement…and a call for TWO investigations…one by the office of the City Attorney and another by the mayor’s office.
The candidate also addressed stories that he received campaign donations from Redflex, funneled through the Ohio Democratic Party. Ginther says that he did ask for donations from Redflex, but that the company never gave. He says that subsequent donations to his campaign from the Ohio Democratic Party were nothing more than coincidence. In addition to his statement before cameras, Ginther released the following via e-mail and social media:
As one of my strongest supporters, I wanted to reach out to you directly to set the record straight about information released last Friday. That information concerned an investigation into the illegal activities by Redflex, a company with contracts with the city of Columbus.
The initial stories linking me to these acts were flat-out wrong. This is not about me. It never has been about me and never will be about me.
At best the facts were misconstrued. At worst, the facts were intentionally and grossly misrepresented to smear me and my campaign.
What is true is that, like others, I have been asked by the U.S. Attorney’s office to assist by gathering information that may be relevant and helpful to the investigation of Redflex.
As the truth unfolds, it will be very clear that I was not the focus of this investigation, period. I am not a target, subject or person of interest.
While I am angry at the suggestion that my 15 years of public service in this community is being called into question, I am outraged with the total misrepresentation of our city government. The city of Columbus is the best run city in the country with an unparalleled system of checks and balances. I will not stand still for this attack on our city.
Going forward, I’ve asked the City Attorney and Coleman Administration to conduct separate investigations into these issues.
Thank you for your support and hard work, which. led to a 34point victory in the primary. We will work together to win the general election and keep building a stronger Columbus.
Previous: Court records: Ginther took bribe from red light camera vendor 6/20/15
Zach Scott’s campaign for mayor just received an unexpected boost.
The former head of a red light camera company entered a guilty plea Friday on charges that she bribed elected officials in Columbus and Cincinnati to help her business obtain and hold municipal contacts. While the names of all Columbus officials involved are not yet known, court records do show that City Council President (and leading candidate for mayor) Andrew Ginther accepted a bribe in the case.
Karen Finley is the ex-CEO of Redflex Traffic Systems and admits to making campaign contributions to officials through an intermediary in exchange for help obtaining or extending red light camera contracts. A local lobbyist and phony invoices were apparently used to funnel money from the red light camera company to political campaigns of involved officials. It also appears that the Ohio Democratic Party organization was involved. In one instance referred to in court records, in 2011, Redflex was asked for a $20,000 campaign contribution to Ginther. Weeks later, Redflex paid a $20,000 “success fee” to the lobbyist. The lobbyist gave the $20,000 to the Ohio Democratic Party. A few days later, the party gave $21,000 to Ginther’s campaign.
Late Friday afternoon, Ginther issued a response denying any wrongdoing.
“I had absolutely no knowledge of these activities and did not take part in them. While I am not a subject of this inquiry, I have been asked to provide records that may help the investigation into Redflex. I’ve fully cooperated and will continue to assist in bringing these people to justice. In light of these charges, I have asked City Attorney Rick Pfeiffer to conduct an investigation into any current contracts between the city and Redflex.”
-Andrew Ginther, candidate for mayor