Tag Archives: East Elmhust

Seven LaGuardia Airport taxi dispatchers arrested for receiving bribes

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons/Thomas Lillis IV


Seven airport taxi dispatchers were busted in an undercover sting operation and charged with unlawfully receiving cash bribes in a taxi-dispatching scheme at LaGuardia Airport, prosecutors said.

The seven defendants are all employees of Port Authority contractor Gateway Group One Frontline Services: Louis Evens, 57, of Valley Stream; Delia Gonzalez, 51, of East Elmhurst; Algimir Kabir, 60, of Kew Gardens; Claudine Roberts, 33, of the Bronx; Claude Tobias, 33, of the Bronx; Gary Luc Valerius, 55, of Valley Stream; and Michael Zalt, 66, of Woodside.

According to the charges, between February and June 2015, the defendants allegedly accepted cash payments of $5 to $10 to allow undercover taxi drivers to skip the long lines in the Central Taxi Holding Area, as required by the Port Authority, and instead go straight to the terminals to pick up passengers.

The alleged scheme was discovered in January 2015, when the Port Authority Office of the Inspector General (OIG) received multiple complaints that taxi dispatchers were allowing taxi drivers to respond to airport terminals without waiting in the central lot. The OIG and the Queens District Attorney’s Airport Investigations Unit launched an investigation that made use of informants and electronic surveillance.

The investigation culminated in the arrest of the seven defendants Wednesday morning when they showed up for what they believed was a Port Authority training session at the Central Air Terminal at LaGuardia Airport.

Each of the drivers was charged with second-degree commercial bribe receiving, official misconduct and receiving unlawful gratuities, and faces up to a year behind bars if convicted.


17-year-old charged with attempted murder in Astoria brick beating

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Police have arrested a 17-year-old for brutally attacking a teen in Astoria Tuesday night.

Omer Khogali, of East Elmhurst, has been charged with attempted murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon, announced the district attorney.

Khogali allegedly beat 16-year Michelle Rodriguez  in the head multiple times with a brick  near 22-63 43rd Street, according to the DA. After hitting the victim, he fled with the brick, dropping it near 43rd Street and 23rd Avenue.

“The defendant is accused of a particularly vicious and brutal assault that has left a young girl clinging to life. The case will be vigorously prosecuted,” said District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

According to the complaint, shortly before the incident a witness saw the alleged perpetrator “walking up to several vehicles in the area and pulling on car door handles,” said Brown.  The defendant heard someone scream and “hit them with a brick to shut them up.”

Khogali faces up to 25 years in prison if found guilty. He was held without bail and is set to return to court on April 29.