ACKMAN LAW OFFICE                                                      WRITER-AT-LARGE



By Dan Ackman


TLC Scam Scare is Taking Honest Cabbies for a Ride

News that New York City taxi drivers cheated passengers of some $8.3 million was shocking, especially to those familiar with the industry. It was, in fact, too shocking to be believed. THE WHOLE STORY

Hack Justice: One Lawyer's Cab Ride....

As an associate for a major Wall Street law firm, I had deposed Donald Trump. I had also litigated in landlord-tenant court. So I thought I knew something about blowhards and a little about due process. But I knew nothing, nothing until I encountered the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission. THE WHOLE STORY

The Worst Court in America

Ebenezer Asamoah idled in his yellow cab at a red light on the corner of Delancey and Allen. When the light changed, he drove across the street and stopped for a burly man in a camouflage jacket who stood 20 feet past the intersection. The man got in. Then he ordered Asamoah to hand over his keys. This was neither a robbery nor a kidnapping--though it had elements of both. THE WHOLE STORY

The Price of Justice

OVER the past several decades, the scope and clout of the city's administrative law courts have swelled to the point where there are now at least 500 administrative law judges scattered among a dozen agencies. While the judges hear very different kinds of cases, many of them face a conflict of interest: they are supposed to make independent judgments about the agencies that pay them. THE WHOLE STORY

Round Midnight, A Poet Cruises

Midnight. Mid-week. Mid-Universe. Cruising Times Square, Mark Allan, licensed taxi-driver and metaphysical poet, is halfway home. THE WHOLE STORY

The Endurance of Joe Mermelstein

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"I am not your ordinary taxi driver," Josef Mermelstein said, and in ways he is the anti-cabbie. New Yorkers complain that cabbies drive too fast. Mr. Mermelstein drives slowly.  New Yorkers grouse that cabbies don't know their way around. Mr. Mermelstein knows every landmark, including some, like the old Taft Hotel, that are no longer there.  THE WHOLE STORY


A Taxi Driver Stands Up

Some time ago I filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of taxi drivers who had their licenses illegally revoked under a Giuliani-backed, TLC-enforced scheme known as Operation Refusal.  Hundreds of drivers have been thrown out of work. THE WHOLE STORY

An Arrogant TLC Abuses Drivers

No one at the Taxi and Limousine Commission is taking cash in brown paper bags, as far as we know. The corruption at the agency is more insidious and more common, the kind that grows where power is absolute and law is absent. THE WHOLE STORY

A Hail of a Taxi Solution

Mayor Bloomberg has lent his support to the Taxi and Limousine Commission raising fares.  That's good since cabbies haven't been granted an increase since 1996.  But the new mayor needs to appoint a new TLC chairman who can give a top-down review to the city's taxi system.  A better system could provide improved service and a better living for drivers at the same time. THE WHOLE STORY

Driving Away Taxi Drivers

The Daily News was right in reporting on Sunday that the lack of yellow cabs plaguing the city is a shortage not of machines, but of men. While the number of medallions remains fixed at 12,187, there are fewer drivers willing to put up with the job. THE WHOLE STORY

Bronx Cheer For Due Process

There is a scene in the movie The Verdict where Paul Newman, playing attorney Frank Galvin, insists to Charlotte Rampling that the idea of a law court is not to dispense justice. The court, Mr. Newmans character says, exists to give people a chance at justice. But even in this ideal, the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission has a problem, because most cabbies believe that in the TLCs courts, they have no chance. THE WHOLE STORY

The TLC is Driving Cabbies Nuts

A few months ago, I was spending a lot of time in taxi garages reporting on a story about the lives of immigrant cabbies. Nearly every cabbie I spoke to told me that what I really should be writing about was the Taxi & Limousine Commission and its courts. "Kangaroo courts," the drivers said. THE WHOLE STORY

City Denies Due Process to Cabbies

BACK IN November, Danny Glover complained that he had trouble hailing a cab because he was black. Glover's complaint is long-standing and legitimate, and few cabbies deny it is often true. But Glover is a movie star, so the mayor and the Taxi and Limousine Commission jumped to react as never before. THE WHOLE STORY


ACKMAN LAW OFFICE                                        DAN ACKMAN: WRITER-AT-LARGE