Mayor’s Report on Brokers and Medallion Crisis
by Carolyn Protz and Sergio Cabrera

As medallion owners, what can we glean from this report that was prompted by Brian Rosenthal’s year long investigation on the role of lending in the medallion debacle?

In the opening statement “As a result of increased competition for passengers and a decline in medallion values on the secondary market, many taxi drivers who own their own medallion currently face significant financial challenges” the Mayor has caught the essence of the problem.  Why is the obvious solution not as clear to him?  Taking the app cars off the road is essential to restoring income to the medallion franchise and stopping the foreclosure crisis.  There were no foreclosures or bankruptcies for 80 years.  They are the result of the reduction in income because of the excessive number of cars.  Unfortunately, the cap that was approved last summer has had no effect.

The City, after interviewing a handful of medallion owner drivers, proposes expanding the bureaucracy, paperwork and mental health counseling, when by the present time, the damage has already been done.  At this juncture, when an individual can purchase a medallion for $120,000 cash, done deal, we would worry more about future actions by regulators to destroy the value of the medallions rather than banks and brokers.

Why has there been no investigation of those individuals who went from the role of regulator to working for the companies they formerly regulated, after having changed countless rules to suit the app companies?  Why have the policy changes also known as “the roadmap”, from the January 2016  so called congestion study never been revealed?  Why is the 62% increase in greenhouse gas emissions produced by the additional fhv’s admitted to in the TLC/DOT study released last week not even being discussed by a City Council that just passed a resolution declaring a “Climate Change Emergency” in our city or an administration that is seeking to divest NYC from all fossil fuel investments and has just proclaimed its plans for the future green new deal?

In the last several auctions of medallions, it’s been alleged that many of the medallions purchased by hedge funds remain “on the shelf”.  FYI, there are another 76 medallions being auctioned off, 16 on 7/11 and 60 on 7/17 by Maltz Auctions.

It shouldn’t have come to this.  The medallion debt problem could be solved at little or no cost to taxpayers with the reduction in the number if fhv’s and the restoration of confidence in the medallion franchise.

Why isn’t this being done?

Sergio Cabrera
Carolyn Protz
Members, NYC Taxi Medallion Owner Driver Association