City Transportation Board Revokes License Of All American Taxi Company

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The City Transportation Board voted Thursday to revoke the license of All American Taxi after hearing testimony about fares being charged that are above the city maximum.

The panel also heard witnesses say that the company owned by Randy Van Hooser often put drivers to work who did not yet have their city permit.

Mr. Van Hooser said he made "an honest mistake" in raising the fares, saying he did so after the Transportation Board in May 2011 agreed to make that recommendation to the City Council. He said he never heard that the council did not act on the recommendation.

As a result, inspector Charles Topping said, All American has been charging $28.75 for a 10-minute ride that should cost $23.

Mr. Van Hooser said he did not get any of the extra money, saying it all went to his cab drivers.

Mike Shuford and Brent Matthews were the only ones voting against revoking the license.

Officer Topping noted that the taxi board earlier in 2011, at the request of Mr. Van Hooser, had agreed to raise the maximum fare for a 60-day period. Then it went back to the former rate.

The officer said after All American raised its fares in May 2011 that Mr. Van Hooser had posted hand-made signs in his cabs with the higher rates.

Officer Topping said the rate cards for all taxi companies are supposed to be supplied by the city.

On the issue of unlicensed drivers, Officer Topping said he now requires that the drivers themselves come in and pick up the permits - not the owners.

Officer Topping said he did not know why he did not catch the higher All American fares when he examined the firm's cabs in the annual inspection in February 2012. He said, "I don't know why I did not pick up on that." 

Among the witnesses were two former cab drivers for Mr. Van Hooser who had gone over to rival Tim Duckett, who owns Millenium Taxi and is also on the Transportation Board. Officer Topping said Mr. Duckett passed on several complaints about Mr. Van Hooser.

Manny Rico, City Council member who serves on the Transportation Board, said he did not buy Mr. Van Hooser's story that it was an honest mistake. He said, "Mr. Van Hooser is a businessman. He knows the rules. This isn't his first rodeo."

He added, "This is very serious. He's taken advantage of our poorest people. And he took advantage of our tourists. A taxi driver is often the first people they see."

James Hurst, attorney for All American Taxi, quoted Mr. Duckett as once saying that when taxi drivers raise the price, they actually lose business because word gets around.

Mr. Matthews asked, "If he (Van Hooser) thought the rate went up, why didn't he go to the office (of the inspector) and get a new rate card?"

Attorney Hurst acknowledged, "That's a good point."

He said, "The facts are what they are." 


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ADAMS, CHRISTOPHER STEPHEN  8729 MILLARD LEE LANE CHATTANOOGA, 37416  Age at Arrest: 35 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County FAILURE TO APPEAR --- ADAMS, KAREN ANNETTE  1707 FOUT STREET CHATTANOOGA, 37407  Age at Arrest: 56 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County PASSING ... (click for more)

City Attorney Proposes New Policy To Dispose Of City Records

City Attorney Wade Hinton proposed a new policy for the retention and disposition of city records at Tuesday afternoon’s City Council meeting.   “Unfortunately we have had a culture of ‘Keep Everything,’” Attorney Hinton stated, referring to the city documents that have been “floating” around since the 1980s. “The unfortunate thing is that we keep these documents all over…and ... (click for more)

An Extra Helping Of Gratitude

After being thankful for the grace of God, my family and good health, this year I have an extra helping of gratitude to live in a special place called Chattanooga.   We endured the trauma of terrorism on July 16 and emerged more united and stronger than ever before.  We claim our heritage and celebrate our diversity like no other city in America.  We honor our ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Vote DesJarlais Out!

There are two good bills in both the Senate and the House of Representatives right now that are directly aimed at the sadistic villains who derive some sick pleasure out of torturing helpless Tennessee Walking Horses. They call it “soring,” where caustic materials are lathered into a horse’s forelegs and then wrapped in plastic so they’ll cook. Sometimes they use nails or screws ... (click for more)

Red Bank Girls Stay Unbeaten With 53-51 Win Over Soddy Daisy

The Red Bank Lionettes pulled out a 53-51 victory over the Soddy Daisy Lady Trojans on Tuesday night at Red Bank's Susan Ingram Thurman Gymnasium, but the win was more signicant for Red Bank coach Bailey McGinnis than probably any she'll celebrate the rest of the season. You see, her older brother Drew Lyness is the Soddy Daisy coach and he had bragging rights after winning both ... (click for more)

UTC Basketball: Women Host Arkansas State Tonight at 6:30 p.m.

The UTC women's basketball team (3-2) host undefeated Arkansas State (3-0) tonight at McKenzie Arena at 6:30 pm. The Mocs lost to Tennessee 59-57 Monday and host UT-Martin Saturday at 6 p.m. before No.1 UConn comes to town next Monday at 6:30 p.m. UTC is led by Keiana Gilbert with 12.6 pppg and Jas Joyner with 10.2 ppg. As a team, UTC is outscoring opponents, 56.2 to 52.6. ... (click for more)