Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) praised the Taxi and Limousine Commission today for admitting their mistake four days after ticketing a Williamsburg man for using his car as an illegal taxi and impounding his vehicle. The TLC has now withdrawn its summons and apologized to the individuals involved.
“Everyone makes mistakes,” said Hikind. “Sometimes the hardest part is owning up to the mistake. But the TLC has shown, once again, that when they do make a mistake, they are quick to correct it and do the right thing.”
The recent incident involved Paulino Rodriguez, an employee of All Fresh Supermarket in Williamsburg, who had driven with his boss Mayer Kohn to pick up produce from a nearby wholesaler on December 4th when the incident occurred. Kohn was sitting in the back when Rodriguez was pulled over and then mistakenly accused of illegally operating a taxi. Rodriguez was issued a $2000 summons and his car was towed by the TLC.
After a review of the facts, a TLC spokesperson said the violation was being retracted.
A similar mistake in June resulted in the impounding of a Chesed car taking patients to hospital treatments. Following that incident, Assemblyman Hikind convened meeting with TLC officials in his office, along with representatives of Chesed, Misaskim and the Shomrim in an effort to eliminate or at least minimize such occurrences in the future.
Ray Scanlon, Bella Vais and Allan Fromberg of the TLC agreed that new protocols were called for, including identification cards to be issued for workers from Chesed and similar organizations to better identify themselves as charity volunteers, phone numbers supplied to the TLC allowing officers to contact charity group dispatchers to ascertain that a driver is legitimate, and sensitivity training for TLC officers. Assemblyman Hikind also created and delivered sensitivity training to TLC officers.
“I will continue to work with the TLC to make certain that these types of unfortunate incidents do not occur,” said Hikind.