New York taxi drivers filed a class action lawsuit, accusing city leaders of medallions worthless due to their negligence and corruption. The move comes after State Attorney General Letisha James abandoned her intention to try the authorities for the same.
The initiators of the new lawsuit are demanding compensation in the amount of $ 2.5 billion. The documents filed with the court say that officials artificially inflated the prices of medallions for years and, when they sold them to drivers at auctions, lied about the true value. Thanks to this practice, from 2004 to 2014, the treasury was replenished by $ 855 million. But then the authorities allegedly opened the way for companies such as Uber and Lyft, and it was the competition with them that had detrimental consequences for taxis. Medallion prices plummeted, and the city left the yellow cab owners without any help.
“It was a large-scale fraudulent scheme,” says plaintiffs’ attorney John Norinsberg. – It would be one thing if prices for medallions grew naturally in the market. However, they skyrocketed from 2004 to 2014 as a result of fraudulent manipulation by the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) and city officials. “
The lawsuit is being filed on behalf of two medallion owners, but Norinsberg is confident that thousands of taxi drivers will join them.
Taxi medallions appeared in New York in 1937, when the number of cabs on the streets began to grow rapidly. For decades, the number of these medallions, which gave yellow taxis the exclusive right to pick up passengers on the streets, remained at the same fixed level of 11,787. In 1996, the situation changed. The then Mayor Giuliani began the auction sale. This policy continued under Bloomberg. The number of medallions rose to 13,500. People saw them as a way to invest money well. The price of the medallion has risen to $ 1 million. Now it has dropped to $ 150 thousand.
TLC, high-ranking city officials, the former mayor of Bloomberg, as well as Yevgeny Fridman, nicknamed the “king of yellow cabs”, are named as defendants in the class action.
Lawyer Norinsberg stressed that his team intends to bring to an end the case, which was started by Attorney General Letisha James.
For medallions – to answer