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A Lafayette, Louisiana city official was caught on tape last week laughing at motorists behind closed doors with an independent hearing officer and a representative from a speed camera vendor. The conversation followed an adjudicatory hearing where Mark and Phil Abshire successfully beat a pair of photo radar tickets by showing the city cited the wrong ordinance on the citations issued. (View story and video of the hearing) Lafayette City Traffic and Transportation Director Tony Tramel joined independent adjudicator Fred Davis and an unidentified employee, likely of Redflex, in discussing the twins' case.
"That sort of came out of nowhere," Davis said on tape, referring to the Abshires' discovery of the discrepancy with the ordinance.
"Hey, it happens," an unidentified employee, likely of Redflex, said. "I'm telling you this. In this particular case, you did what you had to do."
The tape was inadvertently made by licensed private investigator Stephanie Ware who had placed an audio tape recorder in plain view on the table while she videotaped the proceeding. When she followed the twins out of the room after the hearing, the recorder was left running on the table the whole time -- ironically leaving the photo ticketing officials with no expectation of privacy.
"By the way, I thought you did exceedingly well," the employee stated to the hearing officer.
"Me too," Tramel added.
Tramel, a public official, went on and joked about Ware behind the closed doors.