[WATCH] How a Government-Sanctioned Scam in Newburgh Heights Has Taken Thousands of Dollars From Drivers

Over the last 3.5 years, the government of Newburgh Heights has sanctioned a scam that has taken thousands of dollars from insurance companies and drivers.

Newburgh Heights is all of a half-square mile total — including the golf course. The average income is around $40,000. Average home values are about $73,000.

“You think it’s official. You’re doing the right thing,” said Rhonda Abraham.

She’s a victim of the widespread scheme to fool people and insurance companies into giving cash to Newburgh Heights.

“I work hard for my money…I don’t want to give it away. I can do better things with it,” she said.

Rhonda is not alone.

“(Drivers) just assume they have to pay it or they’re going to get arrested if they don’t,” said driver Mike McFarland.

He also paid up.

“It just don’t seem morally right to charge you for something like this,” he said.

“(Drivers) just assume they have to pay it or they’re going to get arrested if they don’t”

And what is Newburgh Heights charging for? Calling the cops for an accident.

Newburgh Heights is the same village where at least 1/5th of its budget comes from traffic tickets. You might know it from the well-publicized, controversial speed cameras or officers on a bridge checking their money maker — I-77.

Mayor’s Court

At Newburgh Heights Mayor’s Court, where the speeders are paying up, the drivers had an opinion about what’s really happening. We asked people there if they think the fines are more about safety or more about the money.

“More so about the money,” said Nautica Skinner.

“I feel like it’s more about money,” said Aaron Smith.

“Yeah, that’s a lot of money accumulating, you know?” said Gerald Thames.
Inside the village’s new $2.8 million hall sits a cavernous, well-adorned chamber complete with bay windows, crown molding and a chandelier. The court costs for the proceedings? $90 a head.

There’s money going into the police department. It’s a village with just under 2,200 but it has 30 total officers.

We drove the main loop in the town. It took us 3-and-a-half minutes. Are 30 officers really needed there?

Similar villages like Strasburg, Walton Hills, Gate Mills all have more people, all with many more square miles, and all with fewer officers. A lot fewer.

It’s a village where the police chief has a salary that’s more than 1.5 times what the average citizen makes. Mayor Trevor Elkins? Same thing.

We wanted to know more about charging people for calling the cops, but the stewards of the village coffers didn’t want to talk to us. So, we went to them just before their bi-weekly meeting.

“Feel free to contact me during the business day,” said Mayor Elkins.

When we said we’ve done that several times but he denied us an on-camera interview, he said this: “I don’t have to give you an interview.”

No interview. So, we waited until the public comment session.

“The taxes of your village don’t cover the police department?” we asked, standing in front of the council members.

The conversation was lively and included a key question about billing for the response of police.

For the full story visit: http://www.news5cleveland.com/longform/how-a-government-sanctioned-scam-in-newburgh-heights-has-taken-thousands-of-dollars-from-drivers

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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