Tuesday, February 5, 2013

History of New York's taxi industry buffs and fans of Danny DeVito have got to "research" Jay Turoff, Ed Koch's long time taxi commissioner

I'll add a few things to this court decision that finalized Ed Koch's long time taxi commissioner's status  as a convicted felon and write up on Research Taxi by saying they didn't get hardly any of the dirt!

Under Turoff/Koch taxi driver licenses were given out based on an open book multiple choice test and a small fee. The old requirement that a taxi driver have driven for three years with a good license in North America went out the window as well.

Taxis were "inspected" on a two tier set up. Tier one was for corporate fleets and it went like this: An inspector would show up on appointment at a fleet garage. The fleet's newest taxi would be awaiting him on a lift, as often also awaiting a table, snacks and a brown paper bag filled with those funny green papers from the government. Based on his perusal of the model cab all taxis in the fleet would be passed, hence we have the hilarious "widow maker" taxis of television fun and games.

Sitcom Cars

The Widow Maker - On the comedy series TAXI/ABC/NBC/1978-83, Louie De Palma
(Danny  DeVito), a tyrannical New York dispatcher for the Sunshine Cab Company often gave away
taxi cab number 413 to anyone that irritated him. It's dilapidated, non-roadworthy condition earned
it the nickname "The Widow Maker."
See also - INSECTS:
 "The Black Widow"

Owner drivers had a quite different but no more efficient system. Turoff personally designated gas stations around the city as TLC inspection stations. Owner drivers would come in and be forced by TLC inspectors working in cahoots with the Turoff designated gas stations  would force the owners to buy whatever the gas station was selling on the threat of immediate removal of the medallion from the hood of the taxi.  This didn't have much to do with making taxis ay safer, but it did enrich gas station owners, TLC inspectors and no doubt, though never demonstrated, Jay Turoff, fondly known to many as  "Jay Jay." Now wouldn't it really be hilarious to have a sitcom on television about a family destroyed because its breadwinner was in effect murdered in a "widow maker" taxi!


Turoff and Cab Owner Plead Guilty in Scheme for Extra 


Published: February 07, 1989
The former head of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, Jay L. Turoff
, and an owner of a large cab fleet, Donald Sherman, each pleaded guilty yesterday to
 participating in a scheme to misappropriate 23 taxicab medallions and more than 
$500,000 in taxicab revenues.
The men each pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud in Federal Court in Brooklyn
 before Judge I. Leo Glasser, who set sentencing for April 5. State charges were dropped
 against Mr. Turoff, who resigned as chairman of the commission in 1986 amid scandals
, and Mr. Sherman, who managed the Midland Service Company, which has 260 cabs at
 42-50 24th Street in Long Island City, Queens.
As part of a plea bargain with state prosecutors, Mr. Sherman, 51 years old, agreed to 
pay the city $125,000 in connection with the misappropriation. Mr. Turoff, also 51, was 
not fined. Mr. Turoff was charged with using his position illegally to authorize Midland to 
receive 23 medallions under an experiment with diesel cabs. The cabs were never in the
 program, in which 100 other temporary medallions were issued for diesels. The profits 
the 23 cabs generated from 1980 to 1985 were paid to a shell corporation, Exdie Cab, 
that Mr. Sherman controlled. Mr. Sherman, prosecutors said, distributed the money as 
he saw fit.