A Brooklyn fruit store manager was claiming Friday that he and an employee were victimized by overzealous inspectors, who deemed their private car an illegal taxi and seized it.
Williamsburg grocer Mayer Kohn said he feels the car was “stolen” He said he was just making a trip to restock his supply of bananas when he became ensnared in a nightmare courtesy of taxi inspectors. “I’m very angry,” Kohn said. “The whole night I did not get sleep, because I see what police can do with the people.” Kohn’s story is simple. He had Paulino Rodriguez, who has worked for him for 13 years, drive him to the nearby Pepe’s fruit wholesaler. But on the way back to his store, he was stopped by Taxi and Limousine Commissioners, who claimed Rodriguez was driving an illegal taxi. They impounded the car and gave him a $2,000 ticket.
The TLC insisted that its actions were legitimate. “Our officers observed a street hail and followed the ride to the drop-off, and then interviewed the passenger,” said TLC spokesman Allan J. Fromberg. “A determination was made that there was sufficient evidence of illegal for-hire activity.” Kohn and Rodriguez were given the opportunity to plead guilty and cut the fine in half, or fight the ticket. They have chosen the latter option. Their court date is set for Tuesday, Dec. 16. But in the meantime, Rodriguez’s car is in a local impound lot.