Between 1998 and 2004, Edmonton PD Sergeant Tom Bell accepted lavish gifts from Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) while the company was attempting to win a no-bid contract to run the city of Edmonton’s speed cameras. On March 1, 2004, Bell wrote a memo stating (falsely) that ACS was the only company capable of running Edmonton’s speed camera program and that the company should be awarded a no-bid contract worth $90 million.
Seems like an obvious open and shut case of pay to play. Company pays city officials to get access to some city program, official helps the company. It happens all the time, and when officials are caught, they’re generally punished in some way, usually a slap on the wrist. But Tom Bell didn’t even get that; he was completely exonerated of any wrongdoing.
The judge presiding over the case, Justice Bryan Mahoney, cleared the him of all charges in the scandal. The judge said his conduct did not amount to a “serious and marked departure from the norm.” And he couldn’t find Bell guilty of taking bribes despite “some poor choices and errors in judgment”.
Bell’s wife actually testified against him during the case. “(Tom) wanted ACS to get the contract before any of the other companies had a chance to apply for it,” she testified. “By securing the contract for ACS, he thought it might help him secure a job with ACS, not in their Edmonton office, but in Arizona.”
Edmonton has a history of this kind of shady business. In 2005, several police officers attempted to frame Edmonton Sun columnist Kerry Diotte for drunk driving because he wrote a column criticizing the city’s photo radar program. Their case was dismissed as well.
(via Edmonton Sun)