As Thousands of Taxi Drivers Were Trapped in Loans, Top Officials Counted the Money – The New York Times

By Brian M. Rosenthal
May 19, 2019

Wael Ghobrayal, an Egyptian immigrant, bought a taxi medallion for $890,000 and now cannot make his loan payments.CreditKholood Eid for The New York Times
[Read Part 1 of The Times’s investigation: How Reckless Loans Devastated a Generation of Taxi Drivers]

At a cramped desk on the 22nd floor of a downtown Manhattan office building, Gary Roth spotted a looming disaster.

An urban planner with two master’s degrees, Mr. Roth had a new job in 2010 analyzing taxi policy for the New York City government. But almost immediately, he noticed something disturbing: The price of a taxi medallion — the permit that lets a driver own a cab — had soared to nearly $700,000 from $200,000. In order to buy medallions, drivers were taking out loans they could not afford.

Mr. Roth compiled his concerns in a report, and he and several colleagues warned that if the city did not take action, the loans would become unsustainable and the market could collapse.”

David Lindsay: Lock them up Locke them up.

Here is a comment I approve wholeheartedly:

Times Pick

I have a friend who is a financial analyst (in a civilian capacity) for the military. A primary function of her job is to make sure contractors don’t overcharge for supplies (think $800 toilet seats) from paper clips to military hardware. She makes pretty good money (as she should) for doing this. There are additional levels of audits to ensure everything adds up. How does corruption like this exist in an instance like this? Are there no analysts and oversight structures in a city as large and important as NYC? In the case of these taxi medallions, it seems as though corruption is the platform. (It reminds me of a gang boss holding territory over pedicab drivers in a grade B Indian movie.) Imho, debts to small-holders should be forgiven, the platform dismantled, the lenders should be assigned the losses. Of course, this could end up a taxpayer burden, but what other recourse is there? Nobody’s going to jail (although it would have been nice) because it was a legal racket. Stop the racket.

Reply38 Recommended

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