That investigation found lobbyists and executives for and at the company read like a who’s who of Suffolk County politics. NewsdayTV's Shari Einhorn reports with Newsday reporter Mark Harrington.

The passage of a measure to amend and extend a school bus camera law in the state’s recently signed budget marks the latest in a string of victories for the politically connected tech firm BusPatrol America.

The measure, signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul last month after introduction in February, included fixes to the original 2019 bus camera legislation to address court challenges to the law. Some of those challenges have come in Suffolk County, which BusPatrol last year touted as having the first bus camera program in the state and the largest in the nation. Suffolk has school bus cameras from BusPatrol in all 71 school districts, including BOCES.

Virginia-based BusPatrol began making inroads into the state with passage of the camera law in 2019. Since then, municipalities across the state have adopted the system, which has produced tens of millions of dollars in revenue for BusPatrol and for those towns and counties.

In Suffolk, the program generated more than $21 million in revenue in 2023, with 55% going to the county and 45% to BusPatrol. From May 1, 2021, through Dec. 21, 2022, BusPatrol generated nearly $37 million in revenue for Suffolk, with about $16 million of that going to BusPatrol.

Passing a stopped school bus carries a $250 fine for a first violation, a figure that increases with violations.

Supporters say the cameras have become a vital tool in protecting schoolchildren on sometimes dangerous roadways, and do so in ways that benefit government budgets.

Critics say the $250 starting fine is too steep and regressive, hitting those who can least afford to pay the hardest.

A Newsday review of BusPatrol's dealings with state and local government found: 

BusPatrol's roster of lobbyists working in New York State include Gregory Lavine, son of Assemb, Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove), Newsday has reported that Assemb, Lavine fought for the bipartisan legislation and its inclusion in the state budget, though Lavine's office said the assemblyman never discussed the bill with his son, Former state Sen, Todd Kaminsky, who left office in July 2022, also lobbied Hochul's office for the bill's inclusion in the budget, BusPatrol has hired as its senior executives several former top Suffolk officials, including Steve Randazzo, who was an assistant deputy county executive and briefed the county legislature on the BusPatrol rollout three years ago, Former Suffolk District Attorney Timothy Sini is working for the firm as outside counsel, and his former Suffolk chief of staff, Justin Meyers, in September was named BusPatrol's president after a stint at the New York City mayor's office, Lisa Black, a former top Suffolk County official, in the waning days of County Executive Steve Bellone's administration in 2023 signed off on changes to BusPatrol's contract that limited the county's ability to terminate the pact, current Suffolk officials allege, .

Between 2019 and 2023, BusPatrol spent more than $1.61 million lobbying state and local governments on bus camera legislation, municipal procurements and bill amendments, according to state lobbying records. In the first two months of 2024, BusPatrol spent $75,750 lobbying as the bill amendment was making its way through the State Legislature and into the state budget. Former Sen. Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo), who championed the original law and the bill amendment in the Senate as chair of the transportation committee, received about $2,200 in in-kind donations from BusPatrol, records show.

When Hochul signed the 2024-25 budget last month, she put into law a five-year extension of the bus camera measure that amended the original 2019 legislation — in response to some alleged violators winning in court over what they said were evidence deficiencies. BusPatrol and municipalities had faced judgments and even a class action suit in state court over those issues.

Courts have found that under the initial version of the law, the evidence from the cameras lacked information identifying the bus and its act of dropping off or picking up children. Since then, the law has been amended to include a presumption that the ticketing bus camera is a school bus dropping off or picking up children. BusPatrol also has improved its evidence packets to identify the vehicle as a school bus. 

Among the lawmakers supporting amending the law was Lavine, who told Newsday he worked to include the legislation in the state budget as a priority “for the protection of our precious kids.”

Among the more than half-dozen lobbying firms and dozens of lobbyists registered to advocate on BusPatrol’s behalf is Gregory Lavine, who is employed by McBride Consulting & Business Development Group, of Melville.

Greg Lavine’s disclosures indicate he was part of the McBride team that directly lobbied for Senate bill S-8603, introduced in February, to amend the language in the original camera legislation.

Assemb. Lavine’s spokesman, Matt Cantor, said the lawmaker’s son “does not lobby him and they never spoke about this lifesaving legislation.”

Blair Horner, executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, said: “We live in the 21st century where family members are involved in all different aspects” of government. “If there is nothing untoward, it seems to be no foul.”

McBride Consulting in public records said it directly lobbied the State Legislature on behalf of BusPatrol, which pays the group $12,500 a month. Other McBride lobbyists who also worked on the effort are former Suffolk Legis. Thomas Cilmi and ex-Suffolk Deputy County Executive Jon Schneider.

McBride also recently hired Noel DiGerolamo, former head of the Suffolk PBA, as its managing partner. The PBA in September announced plans to work with BusPatrol to deploy billboards to remind residents to stop for school buses.

McBride’s ties to Suffolk County government, which include the hiring of former Legis. Bridget Fleming and Legis. DuWayne Gregory, extends to a school bus transportation consulting firm that operates out of the same Melville office as McBride's lobbying and business consulting firm.

Transportation Safety Planning & Solutions Group, a Melville school bus safety firm that conducts studies and safety assessments of school transportation programs, until earlier this month had listed on its website a leadership team of 10 people that included two top Suffolk law enforcement officials. Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon Jr. was listed as a senior executive consultant to the group, and Kevin Catalina, deputy commissioner for the Suffolk County Police Department, as a senior vice president at the consulting firm. 

Vicki DeStefano, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said Toulon received an Ethics Board ruling allowing him to take the position at the consulting firm, but said she wasn’t able to say what conditions it placed on him, if any. Toulon last year made $3,000 working for the firm, which he joined in 2022.

A statement by the Suffolk Police Department said Catalina participated in “a couple of consultation meetings” three years ago but was not compensated. He also received Ethics Board approval, according to the statement.

After Newsday asked questions about Suffolk officials' roles, Toulon and Catalina's names and photos were removed from the firm's website. 

The police department explained that Catalina's last contact with the firm was in March 2022. "When he was made aware of his name on the website, he requested its removal," the department said.

The consulting group was among the sponsors last year of the New York School Bus Safety Summit, an event hosted by BusPatrol.

Robert McBride, founder of McBride consulting, said his firm had been lobbying for BusPatrol for about a year. “I thought this was great for protecting kids getting on and off the bus,” he said.

McBride said Transportation Safety Planning & Solutions Group is a startup run by his daughter, Kelly McBride, to deal with a range of transportation safety issues. “The company has never really gotten off the ground,” he said.

The Transportation Safety & Planning Solutions Group has given more than $16,000 to political candidates since 2019, including $2,500 to Sen. Kennedy and $3,000 to Toulon. McBride contributed $10,000 to Hochul’s campaign in November (after giving her campaign $20,000 in 2021), and has given $5,000 to Kennedy's State Senate campaign over the past four years.

Among the lawmakers lobbied by McBride’s team were Assemb. Fred Thiele (D-Sag Harbor), Assemb. Michaelle Solages (D-Elmont), Assemb. Gina Sillitti (D-Port Washington) and Kennedy. McBride also recently lobbied the Suffolk County Law Department, its Traffic and Parking Violations Bureau, and the office of the county executive on that bill, as well as Hempstead and Oyster Bay officials, records show.

Thiele, who sits on the transportation committee and supports bus cameras, said he was contacted “several times” by the McBride firm on the issue, including the concern that East End justice courts were refusing to hear the cases. “I don’t ever recall being contacted by Greg Lavine about this,” he said, though he has met with a BusPatrol official along with McBride staffer Jim McCulley.

Kaminsky, who works for the law firm Greenberg Traurig, which has offices in Albany, the city and Bridgehampton, met with officials in the governor's office on Feb. 22 concerning the bill's inclusion in the budget, according to Project Sunlight, a state public meetings disclosure site. Records show the Greenberg firm is paid $7,500 a month to lobby for BusPatrol, and as part of its efforts this year met with Kennedy and Assemb. William Magnarelli, in addition to the governor's staff.

One person who lobbied for the bill said the primary impetus for its swift movement was not only its widespread support but also the requests from local municipalities that had faced potential court challenges to bus camera judgments. Michael Martino, a spokesman for Suffolk County Executive Edward P. Romaine, said the county engaged in "no lobbying efforts for the bus cameras."

In addition to BusPatrol itself, which lists Randazzo as a state lobbyist, the company retained six different firms to lobby for it this year, including Bolton-St. Johns, according to state records. 

Critics of the bus cameras say they can unfairly penalize drivers least able to afford to pay the fines, and are calibrated for maximum penalties. 

Legis. Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) noted that a single bus stop in Commack issued 2,800 tickets, according to data supplied to him by BusPatrol, even though it is a spot where no child crosses the street. It was almost $1 million worth of revenue for one bus stop, Trotta said.

“It’s nothing more than a money grab,” he said. “And now it’s a conspiracy to employ former government employees.”

Legislative records show Trotta co-sponsored and voted for the school bus camera program in 2019 and 2020.

“I was told it was not going to be on divided highways. It’s one of the few votes I wish I could take back because it’s a scam,” Trotta said. In 2023, he introduced a resolution to suspend the program, but it did not move beyond committee.

BusPatrol spokesman Gary Lewi called the claims “unfair.”

“The object of BusPatrol is to alter the behavior of motorists who are either indifferent or distracted when they come upon a stopped school bus, red lights flashing and red arms out,” Lewi said. “Are there instances, such as divided highways, that need to be addressed? Clearly.” 

In addition to retaining a list of lobbying firms that includes McBride, Jack Carlucci, Bolton-St. Johns and Empire Strategic Planning, BusPatrol has recruited from local government.

Meyers, its president and chief innovation officer, is the former chief of staff for the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office and most recently was chief of operations for the New York City Deputy Mayor for Public Safety.

Meyers recently said in a media report that Suffolk County is BusPatrol's largest customer.

The attorney of record for BusPatrol in recent litigation is Sini, Meyers’ one-time boss. Sini is outside counsel to BusPatrol and is listed in court documents recently filed against the company, including a class-action lawsuit in state court. Sini has filed to move the case to federal court.

The class action suit alleges BusPatrol is issuing tickets “in violation of the law,” because the so-called notices of liability sent to violators contain insufficient evidence on which to base cases.

“The power to penalize private citizens is a governmental function, and when placed in the hands of a private enterprise, driven by a motive for profit, it is subject to corner-cutting and abuse displayed by BusPatrol,” as alleged in the complaint, lawyers for plaintiff Sarah Morgulis wrote in their amended complaint.

BusPatrol, in a response signed by Sini, argued that the notice of liability sent to Morgulis was “facially sufficient,” and noted that she’d paid the fine, accepting liability.

Randazzo is a former assistant deputy county executive for Suffolk, which first rolled out bus cameras in February 2022. Randazzo, who appeared before the Suffolk legislature on Feb. 25, 2021, to discuss the rollout and its highlights, has been the company’s chief growth officer since March 2022, according to his LinkedIn page.

Jason Elan, like Meyers a former spokesman for Bellone, until recently had been head of external affairs at BusPatrol before taking a post at Actum, a communications and public affairs firm. 

“The revolving door practices are always a concern at every level of government,” Horner said. He said he doesn’t know if the former county workers sought approval from the county ethics commission, “but that should have been the first stop.

“The point is to have a cooling-off period between actions by government and the ability to cash in,” Horner said.

But Paul Sabatino, former counsel to the Suffolk legislature, said the move to a Suffolk contractor raises questions. 

“Because his testimony before the county legislature showed that he participated personally and substantially with BusPatrol business as a county employee, he is banned from accepting employment or receiving compensation from that company under the county ethics code,” Sabatino said.

Since its founding in 2017, BusPatrol has worked to distinguish itself from another bus camera company, Force Multiplier Solutions, which was embroiled in a bribery scandal that bankrupted a Dallas schools transportation district.

BusPatrol, which operates from a Lofton, Virginia, headquarters that formerly was home to Force Multiplier, acquired certain technology assets from that company but is otherwise completely unrelated, the company has said. Suffolk County hired an outside attorney in 2020 to vet the contract, and found the two legally distinct.

Robert C. Leonard, the former chief executive of Force Multiplier Solutions, pleaded guilty to bribery conspiracy charges in 2019 and remains in federal prison, records show. He’s due to be released July 7.

Suffolk officials said they were reviewing recently discovered amendments to BusPatrol's contract that limit the county's ability to end the contract. In the waning days of the Bellone administration, officials removed a standard clause that would allow the county to terminate the contract with 30 days' notice. 

Records provided to Newsday show that Black, the former chief deputy county executive, signed an amended contract after Romaine's election in November and two years before the BusPatrol contract was due to expire.

It’s unclear why and under what authority Black did so or why she waited until Nov. 27. Black didn't respond to requests for comment.

Martino said the county is reviewing the contract, along with others.

Bellone did not respond to a request for comment.

Lewi said company officials asked for the clause to be removed because the county was asking the company to spend “hundreds of thousands of dollars” on public service announcements and the clause allowed the county to fire the company “for no reason whatsoever.”

“That was a non-starter for the company,” he said.

Lewi said the county still can cancel the contract for cause.

“There is a legislative remedy that can take place immediately, if Suffolk County, for any reason, decided they wanted to terminate the agreement,” he said. “So if there’s a perception that BusPatrol has an agreement with Suffolk County in perpetuity, that’s not true.”

But Suffolk County Comptroller John Kennedy, who is preparing to release an audit of BusPatrol and the school bus camera program, said he was stunned to see that Bellone officials removed a standard clause allowing the county to terminate the BusPatrol contract with 30 days’ notice.

“I have never seen that before,” he said, adding, “There is no justification for it whatsoever.”

Although the county still has the option of terminating the contract for cause, that is a costly and time-consuming process, Kennedy said. 

Sabatino, former counsel for the Suffolk Legislature, agreed. 

“Who in their right mind would take away the county’s ability to terminate for any reason?” said Sabatino, who reviewed the contract and its amendments at Newsday’s request. “Clearly, something out of the ordinary was done at the last minute as this administration was going out the door, and I see no legal or policy reason to do it."

The passage of a measure to amend and extend a school bus camera law in the state’s recently signed budget marks the latest in a string of victories for the politically connected tech firm BusPatrol America.

The measure, signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul last month after introduction in February, included fixes to the original 2019 bus camera legislation to address court challenges to the law. Some of those challenges have come in Suffolk County, which BusPatrol last year touted as having the first bus camera program in the state and the largest in the nation. Suffolk has school bus cameras from BusPatrol in all 71 school districts, including BOCES.

Virginia-based BusPatrol began making inroads into the state with passage of the camera law in 2019. Since then, municipalities across the state have adopted the system, which has produced tens of millions of dollars in revenue for BusPatrol and for those towns and counties.

In Suffolk, the program generated more than $21 million in revenue in 2023, with 55% going to the county and 45% to BusPatrol. From May 1, 2021, through Dec. 21, 2022, BusPatrol generated nearly $37 million in revenue for Suffolk, with about $16 million of that going to BusPatrol.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • The passage of a measure to amend and extend a school bus camera law was the latest in a string of victories for the politically connected tech firm BusPatrol America.
  • BusPatrol has hired several former top Suffolk County officials as its senior executives and retained six firms to lobby for them in New York State, spending $74,000 in the first two months of the year on the camera law amendment.
  • In Suffolk, the program generated more than $21 million in revenue in 2023, with 55% going to the county and 45% to BusPatrol.
Controversy and court challenges have motorists questioning the motive for school bus cameras, especially at one spot on Jericho Turnpike. Newsday's Shari Einhorn reports.

Passing a stopped school bus carries a $250 fine for a first violation, a figure that increases with violations.

Supporters say the cameras have become a vital tool in protecting schoolchildren on sometimes dangerous roadways, and do so in ways that benefit government budgets.

Critics say the $250 starting fine is too steep and regressive, hitting those who can least afford to pay the hardest.

A Newsday review of BusPatrol's dealings with state and local government found: 

  • BusPatrol's roster of lobbyists working in New York State include Gregory Lavine, son of Assemb. Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove). Newsday has reported that Assemb. Lavine fought for the bipartisan legislation and its inclusion in the state budget, though Lavine's office said the assemblyman never discussed the bill with his son. Former state Sen. Todd Kaminsky, who left office in July 2022, also lobbied Hochul's office for the bill's inclusion in the budget.
  • BusPatrol has hired as its senior executives several former top Suffolk officials, including Steve Randazzo, who was an assistant deputy county executive and briefed the county legislature on the BusPatrol rollout three years ago. Former Suffolk District Attorney Timothy Sini is working for the firm as outside counsel, and his former Suffolk chief of staff, Justin Meyers, in September was named BusPatrol's president after a stint at the New York City mayor's office.
  • Lisa Black, a former top Suffolk County official, in the waning days of County Executive Steve Bellone's administration in 2023 signed off on changes to BusPatrol's contract that limited the county's ability to terminate the pact, current Suffolk officials allege. 

Between 2019 and 2023, BusPatrol spent more than $1.61 million lobbying state and local governments on bus camera legislation, municipal procurements and bill amendments, according to state lobbying records. In the first two months of 2024, BusPatrol spent $75,750 lobbying as the bill amendment was making its way through the State Legislature and into the state budget. Former Sen. Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo), who championed the original law and the bill amendment in the Senate as chair of the transportation committee, received about $2,200 in in-kind donations from BusPatrol, records show.

Swift passage in the state 

When Hochul signed the 2024-25 budget last month, she put into law a five-year extension of the bus camera measure that amended the original 2019 legislation — in response to some alleged violators winning in court over what they said were evidence deficiencies. BusPatrol and municipalities had faced judgments and even a class action suit in state court over those issues.

Courts have found that under the initial version of the law, the evidence from the cameras lacked information identifying the bus and its act of dropping off or picking up children. Since then, the law has been amended to include a presumption that the ticketing bus camera is a school bus dropping off or picking up children. BusPatrol also has improved its evidence packets to identify the vehicle as a school bus. 

Among the lawmakers supporting amending the law was Lavine, who told Newsday he worked to include the legislation in the state budget as a priority “for the protection of our precious kids.”

Among the more than half-dozen lobbying firms and dozens of lobbyists registered to advocate on BusPatrol’s behalf is Gregory Lavine, who is employed by McBride Consulting & Business Development Group, of Melville.

Greg Lavine’s disclosures indicate he was part of the McBride team that directly lobbied for Senate bill S-8603, introduced in February, to amend the language in the original camera legislation.

Assemb. Lavine’s spokesman, Matt Cantor, said the lawmaker’s son “does not lobby him and they never spoke about this lifesaving legislation.”

Blair Horner, executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, said: “We live in the 21st century where family members are involved in all different aspects” of government. “If there is nothing untoward, it seems to be no foul.”

McBride Consulting in public records said it directly lobbied the State Legislature on behalf of BusPatrol, which pays the group $12,500 a month. Other McBride lobbyists who also worked on the effort are former Suffolk Legis. Thomas Cilmi and ex-Suffolk Deputy County Executive Jon Schneider.

McBride also recently hired Noel DiGerolamo, former head of the Suffolk PBA, as its managing partner. The PBA in September announced plans to work with BusPatrol to deploy billboards to remind residents to stop for school buses.

McBride’s ties to Suffolk County government, which include the hiring of former Legis. Bridget Fleming and Legis. DuWayne Gregory, extends to a school bus transportation consulting firm that operates out of the same Melville office as McBride's lobbying and business consulting firm.

Transportation Safety Planning & Solutions Group, a Melville school bus safety firm that conducts studies and safety assessments of school transportation programs, until earlier this month had listed on its website a leadership team of 10 people that included two top Suffolk law enforcement officials. Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon Jr. was listed as a senior executive consultant to the group, and Kevin Catalina, deputy commissioner for the Suffolk County Police Department, as a senior vice president at the consulting firm. 

Vicki DeStefano, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said Toulon received an Ethics Board ruling allowing him to take the position at the consulting firm, but said she wasn’t able to say what conditions it placed on him, if any. Toulon last year made $3,000 working for the firm, which he joined in 2022.

A statement by the Suffolk Police Department said Catalina participated in “a couple of consultation meetings” three years ago but was not compensated. He also received Ethics Board approval, according to the statement.

After Newsday asked questions about Suffolk officials' roles, Toulon and Catalina's names and photos were removed from the firm's website. 

The police department explained that Catalina's last contact with the firm was in March 2022. "When he was made aware of his name on the website, he requested its removal," the department said.

The consulting group was among the sponsors last year of the New York School Bus Safety Summit, an event hosted by BusPatrol.

Robert McBride, founder of McBride consulting, said his firm had been lobbying for BusPatrol for about a year. “I thought this was great for protecting kids getting on and off the bus,” he said.

500 Total BusPatrol employees in the United States and Canada
84 in New York 65 on Long Island 140 in Virginia

McBride said Transportation Safety Planning & Solutions Group is a startup run by his daughter, Kelly McBride, to deal with a range of transportation safety issues. “The company has never really gotten off the ground,” he said.

The Transportation Safety & Planning Solutions Group has given more than $16,000 to political candidates since 2019, including $2,500 to Sen. Kennedy and $3,000 to Toulon. McBride contributed $10,000 to Hochul’s campaign in November (after giving her campaign $20,000 in 2021), and has given $5,000 to Kennedy's State Senate campaign over the past four years.

Among the lawmakers lobbied by McBride’s team were Assemb. Fred Thiele (D-Sag Harbor), Assemb. Michaelle Solages (D-Elmont), Assemb. Gina Sillitti (D-Port Washington) and Kennedy. McBride also recently lobbied the Suffolk County Law Department, its Traffic and Parking Violations Bureau, and the office of the county executive on that bill, as well as Hempstead and Oyster Bay officials, records show.

Thiele, who sits on the transportation committee and supports bus cameras, said he was contacted “several times” by the McBride firm on the issue, including the concern that East End justice courts were refusing to hear the cases. “I don’t ever recall being contacted by Greg Lavine about this,” he said, though he has met with a BusPatrol official along with McBride staffer Jim McCulley.

Kaminsky, who works for the law firm Greenberg Traurig, which has offices in Albany, the city and Bridgehampton, met with officials in the governor's office on Feb. 22 concerning the bill's inclusion in the budget, according to Project Sunlight, a state public meetings disclosure site. Records show the Greenberg firm is paid $7,500 a month to lobby for BusPatrol, and as part of its efforts this year met with Kennedy and Assemb. William Magnarelli, in addition to the governor's staff.

One person who lobbied for the bill said the primary impetus for its swift movement was not only its widespread support but also the requests from local municipalities that had faced potential court challenges to bus camera judgments. Michael Martino, a spokesman for Suffolk County Executive Edward P. Romaine, said the county engaged in "no lobbying efforts for the bus cameras."

In addition to BusPatrol itself, which lists Randazzo as a state lobbyist, the company retained six different firms to lobby for it this year, including Bolton-St. Johns, according to state records. 

Critics of the bus cameras say they can unfairly penalize drivers least able to afford to pay the fines, and are calibrated for maximum penalties. 

Legis. Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) noted that a single bus stop in Commack issued 2,800 tickets, according to data supplied to him by BusPatrol, even though it is a spot where no child crosses the street. It was almost $1 million worth of revenue for one bus stop, Trotta said.

“It’s nothing more than a money grab,” he said. “And now it’s a conspiracy to employ former government employees.”

Legislative records show Trotta co-sponsored and voted for the school bus camera program in 2019 and 2020.

“I was told it was not going to be on divided highways. It’s one of the few votes I wish I could take back because it’s a scam,” Trotta said. In 2023, he introduced a resolution to suspend the program, but it did not move beyond committee.

BusPatrol spokesman Gary Lewi called the claims “unfair.”

“The object of BusPatrol is to alter the behavior of motorists who are either indifferent or distracted when they come upon a stopped school bus, red lights flashing and red arms out,” Lewi said. “Are there instances, such as divided highways, that need to be addressed? Clearly.” 

Recruiting from government

In addition to retaining a list of lobbying firms that includes McBride, Jack Carlucci, Bolton-St. Johns and Empire Strategic Planning, BusPatrol has recruited from local government.

Meyers, its president and chief innovation officer, is the former chief of staff for the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office and most recently was chief of operations for the New York City Deputy Mayor for Public Safety.

Meyers recently said in a media report that Suffolk County is BusPatrol's largest customer.

BusPatrol principals

Chief Executive: Karoon Monfared

Chief Financial Officer: Brad Conrad

Chief Technology Officer: Aleks Zoranic

President and Chief Innovation Officer: Justin Meyers

Chief Product Officer: Dalton Li

Chief Operations Officer: Ezra Okon

Chief Growth Officer and Executive Vice President: Steve Randazzo

Chief Delivery Officer: Alex Lane

Source: Business records and BusPatrol

The attorney of record for BusPatrol in recent litigation is Sini, Meyers’ one-time boss. Sini is outside counsel to BusPatrol and is listed in court documents recently filed against the company, including a class-action lawsuit in state court. Sini has filed to move the case to federal court.

The class action suit alleges BusPatrol is issuing tickets “in violation of the law,” because the so-called notices of liability sent to violators contain insufficient evidence on which to base cases.

“The power to penalize private citizens is a governmental function, and when placed in the hands of a private enterprise, driven by a motive for profit, it is subject to corner-cutting and abuse displayed by BusPatrol,” as alleged in the complaint, lawyers for plaintiff Sarah Morgulis wrote in their amended complaint.

BusPatrol, in a response signed by Sini, argued that the notice of liability sent to Morgulis was “facially sufficient,” and noted that she’d paid the fine, accepting liability.

Randazzo is a former assistant deputy county executive for Suffolk, which first rolled out bus cameras in February 2022. Randazzo, who appeared before the Suffolk legislature on Feb. 25, 2021, to discuss the rollout and its highlights, has been the company’s chief growth officer since March 2022, according to his LinkedIn page.

Jason Elan, like Meyers a former spokesman for Bellone, until recently had been head of external affairs at BusPatrol before taking a post at Actum, a communications and public affairs firm. 

“The revolving door practices are always a concern at every level of government,” Horner said. He said he doesn’t know if the former county workers sought approval from the county ethics commission, “but that should have been the first stop.

“The point is to have a cooling-off period between actions by government and the ability to cash in,” Horner said.

But Paul Sabatino, former counsel to the Suffolk legislature, said the move to a Suffolk contractor raises questions. 

“Because his testimony before the county legislature showed that he participated personally and substantially with BusPatrol business as a county employee, he is banned from accepting employment or receiving compensation from that company under the county ethics code,” Sabatino said.

Since its founding in 2017, BusPatrol has worked to distinguish itself from another bus camera company, Force Multiplier Solutions, which was embroiled in a bribery scandal that bankrupted a Dallas schools transportation district.

BusPatrol, which operates from a Lofton, Virginia, headquarters that formerly was home to Force Multiplier, acquired certain technology assets from that company but is otherwise completely unrelated, the company has said. Suffolk County hired an outside attorney in 2020 to vet the contract, and found the two legally distinct.

Robert C. Leonard, the former chief executive of Force Multiplier Solutions, pleaded guilty to bribery conspiracy charges in 2019 and remains in federal prison, records show. He’s due to be released July 7.

Contract changes

Suffolk officials said they were reviewing recently discovered amendments to BusPatrol's contract that limit the county's ability to end the contract. In the waning days of the Bellone administration, officials removed a standard clause that would allow the county to terminate the contract with 30 days' notice. 

Records provided to Newsday show that Black, the former chief deputy county executive, signed an amended contract after Romaine's election in November and two years before the BusPatrol contract was due to expire.

It’s unclear why and under what authority Black did so or why she waited until Nov. 27. Black didn't respond to requests for comment.

Martino said the county is reviewing the contract, along with others.

Bellone did not respond to a request for comment.

Lewi said company officials asked for the clause to be removed because the county was asking the company to spend “hundreds of thousands of dollars” on public service announcements and the clause allowed the county to fire the company “for no reason whatsoever.”

“That was a non-starter for the company,” he said.

Lewi said the county still can cancel the contract for cause.

“There is a legislative remedy that can take place immediately, if Suffolk County, for any reason, decided they wanted to terminate the agreement,” he said. “So if there’s a perception that BusPatrol has an agreement with Suffolk County in perpetuity, that’s not true.”

But Suffolk County Comptroller John Kennedy, who is preparing to release an audit of BusPatrol and the school bus camera program, said he was stunned to see that Bellone officials removed a standard clause allowing the county to terminate the BusPatrol contract with 30 days’ notice.

“I have never seen that before,” he said, adding, “There is no justification for it whatsoever.”

Although the county still has the option of terminating the contract for cause, that is a costly and time-consuming process, Kennedy said. 

Sabatino, former counsel for the Suffolk Legislature, agreed. 

“Who in their right mind would take away the county’s ability to terminate for any reason?” said Sabatino, who reviewed the contract and its amendments at Newsday’s request. “Clearly, something out of the ordinary was done at the last minute as this administration was going out the door, and I see no legal or policy reason to do it."

A Newsday analysis shows the number of referees and umpires has declined 25.2% in Nassau and 18.1% in Suffolk since 2011-12. Officials and administrators say the main reason is spectator behavior. NewsdayTV's Carissa Kellman reports. Credit: Newsday Staff

Updated now A Newsday analysis shows the number of referees and umpires has declined 25.2% in Nassau and 18.1% in Suffolk since 2011-12. Officials and administrators say the main reason is spectator behavior. NewsdayTV's Carissa Kellman reports.

A Newsday analysis shows the number of referees and umpires has declined 25.2% in Nassau and 18.1% in Suffolk since 2011-12. Officials and administrators say the main reason is spectator behavior. NewsdayTV's Carissa Kellman reports. Credit: Newsday Staff

Updated now A Newsday analysis shows the number of referees and umpires has declined 25.2% in Nassau and 18.1% in Suffolk since 2011-12. Officials and administrators say the main reason is spectator behavior. NewsdayTV's Carissa Kellman reports.

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