Tag Archives: taxis

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.


Hybrid batteries stolen from 12 cars in 108th Precinct

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons/Shoreline

In the past few months, car thieves have been walking away with more than just personal items when breaking into the trunks of some hybrid vehicles in western Queens.

According to the 108th Precinct, which covers Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside, since November expensive hybrid batteries have been stolen out of the trunks of 12 hybrid Toyota Camrys in the area. The majority have been taken from Long Island City.

All of the vehicles, which can run on electrical power as well as a gasoline engine, have been taxis and include 10 yellow cabs and two livery vehicles.

The batteries cost from $2,000 to $3,000. They also have no serial numbers, making them untraceable, according to Debra Markell Kleinert, district manager of Community Board 2.

“The 108th is being proactive and working with the community to try to resolve this issue,” Markell Kleinert said.

The incidents are currently under investigation by the Grand Larceny Squad and 108th Precinct’s Detective Squad.


Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Wednesday: Some clouds early. Mostly sunny skies along with windy conditions this afternoon. High 37. Winds NW at 25 to 35 mph. Wednesday night: Clear skies. Low 22. Winds NW at 20 to 30 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Rough Draft Festival

LaGuardia College will be hosting the Rough Draft Festival where there is a opportunity to go to workshops and performances until April 2. The Festival showcases exciting new work currently under development by LaGuardia Performing Arts Center and other companies. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Group files suit against NYC e-cigarette ban

A smokers advocacy group says it’s filed a lawsuit against New York City seeking to overturn its ban on electronic cigarettes. Read more: NBC New York

Livery drivers to form neighborhood watch

Livery drivers are going to put the heat on dangerous driving. Read more: New York Post

Applicants flood city for pre-k teaching positions

Applicants are flooding the school system to snare one of 1,000 teaching slots that will open in September when all-day pre-kindergarten classes expand around the city, Mayor de Blasio said Tuesday. Read more: New York Post

NYC plans taxi accessibility surcharge

New York City taxi fares may rise in order to pay for an increase in the number of wheelchair-accessible cabs. Read more: AP

CNN producers accused of trying to sneak into World Trade Center site

Two CNN producers were arrested Tuesday afternoon for allegedly trying to sneak into the site around the 1 World Trade Center building, police said. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Monday: A good deal of sunshine. High near 35. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph. Monday night: A few passing clouds, otherwise generally clear. Low 28. Winds NE at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: York College Celebrates 75 Years of Blue Note Records

On Monday at 6 p.m., the York College Cultural Diversity Center and the Male Initiative Program will host “The Blue Note Sound: Celebrating 75 Years of Blue Note Records.” The celebration will pay tribute to Blue Note Records’ contribution to jazz. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Spring nor’easter to dump more snow on tri-state

The tri-state is expected to get more snow this week as a nor’easter delivers a glancing blow Tuesday night, forecasters say, but the area should be spared from the worst of the wintry spring storm. Read more: NBC New York

3 people shot at Queensbridge housing projects in Long Island City; cops searching for shooter

Two men and a woman were shot in a Queens housing project Sunday. Read more: New York Daily News

De Blasio on charter school students: ‘we need them to succeed’

Just weeks after moving to prevent their expansion, Mayor Bill de Blasio has offered an olive branch to the charter school movement. Read more: CBS New York

NYPD to train cabbies in new sergeant-taxi driver partnership

NYPD sergeants will be training city cabdrivers on how to protect themselves against violent passengers and farebeaters, as well as teach them methods for handling high-stress situations that could lead to road rage and accidents. Read more: New York Post

Giuliani: de Blasio taking city ‘in the wrong direction’

Rudy Giuliani sounded off on Mayor de Blasio Sunday, saying his successor is moving the city “in the wrong direction.” Read more: New York Post