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South Carolina: Traffic Camera Company Busted for Failing to Pay Fine
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10/10/2012South Carolina: Traffic Camera Company Busted for Failing to Pay Fine
South Carolina Ethics Commission labels traffic camera company CEO a delinquent for failure to pay his fines.
The owner of a speed camera company faces $1400 in delinquent fines for violating ethics laws in South Carolina. William B. Danzell, the chairman of iTraffic Safety, has spent his career forcing motorists he calls "scofflaws" to pay up. Now the State Ethics Commission says Danzell has himself been a scofflaw for the past 10 months. The commission sent iTraffic Safety a cease and desist order in April prohibiting Danzell from undertaking any efforts to promote speed cameras or other citation delivery programs to lawmakers in Columbia. The commission also confirmed that Danzell's debt remains outstanding.
"This letter is to advise you that therefore, you are prohibited from engaging in lobbying activities if you are currently registered as a lobbyist's principal in this calendar year and are prohibited from registering to lobby in South Carolina until such time as the forms are received," State Ethics Commission Executive Director Herbert R. Hayden Jr wrote in a certified letter to Danzell.
In 2010 Danzell moved his startup company iTraffic to South Carolina to run a speed camera program on Interstate 95 in the town of Ridgeland. The system operated in open defiance of a state law prohibiting the use of photo enforcement. In the time it took for the legislature to unanimously adopt a second law repudiating iTraffic, the firm succeeded in issuing thousands of tickets. As part of its service, iTraffic even offered to collect delinquent citation debt as a means of further increasing revenue for the town. Before that could happen, the door was officially shut on photo ticketing.
Danzell had packed up his company and left the state by the time Governor Nikki Haley (R) signed the second camera ban into law in June 2011. He fled in such haste that he failed to provide the legally required lobbying disclosure statements covering June 30, 2011 through January 31, 2012. Failure to file this form constitutes a misdemeanor offense, but Danzell ignored delinquency notices from the commission.
"If the lobbyist's principle disclosure statements are not received within ten days of receipt of this letter, additional penalties of $10 per day per form for the first ten days and $100 per day per form for each additional day up to a maximum of $5000 per form will be levied, and a complaint will be filed against you," Hayden warned.
In addition to sending notices by registered mail, commission staff emailed Danzell at the email address provided on his lobbyist registration. This is the same address appearing on iTraffic's Facebook page and other websites. The surface mail was returned as undeliverable because Danzell left no forwarding address. Most recently, he has recently devoted his attention to landing Prichard, Alabama as the first client for his company's latest for-profit venture. iTraffic promised the city that it could boost the number of conventional, officer-issued tickets from 100 to 3000 each month in exchange for a fifty-percent cut of each fine.
Danzell's former venture, Nestor Traffic Systems, was once among the top tier of red light camera companies. It was successful enough to go public and be listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange. Soon, however, the firm's fortunes faded. Some cities dropped the use of red light cameras after Nestor's promises of profit failed to materialize. An internal battle for control of Nestor ended with Danzell being booted as CEO from the firm he founded. From a high of $48 a share, mismanagement sent the stock price down to a low of 13 cents, forcing Nasdaq officials to delist the firm. As the company went under, executives paid themselves handsomely while stiffing contractors who did work for the firm.
A copy of the State Ethics Commission order is available in a 50k PDF file at the source link below.
Source: Notice to Cease and Desist Lobbying Activities (South Carolina State Ethics Commission, 4/6/2012)
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