Facilitating communication in the cab industry nationwide
 
HomePortalGalleryFAQSearchRegisterUsergroupsLog inMemberlist

Share | 
 

 Sheikh’s Day in Court

Go down 
AuthorMessage
Chicago Dispatcher



Posts : 10
Join date : 2008-01-10

PostSubject: Sheikh’s Day in Court   1/21/2008, 3:07 pm

From The Chicago Dispatcher, January 2008

Sheikh’s Day in Court
Cabdriver Akhtar Sheikh challenges seven violations received during a trip to a suburban hotel
by Jonathan Bullington

In last month’s issue, we detailed the story of Akhtar Sheikh. For those unfamiliar with it, a recap: On the evening of June 4, Sheikh picked up Oklahoma resident Stephanie Kolis from O’Hare airport. Kolis indicated her destination as the Exel Inn in Elk Grove Village. Being unfamiliar with that hotel’s destination (as it’s not exactly a hot-spot of tourist activity), Sheikh consulted his chauffeur guide book for directions before beginning the trip. Forty minutes later and forty dollars lighter, Kolis arrived at her hotel, safe and sound.

The next morning, Kolis returned to the airport, this time in a different taxi and, this time, in less time and for less money. Her conclusion: first cabdriver ripped her off.

Armed with Sheikh’s cab number and company, Kolis filed a complaint against him with the Department of Consumer Services (DCS), stating in part, “The driver had to look up the address of the destination in his map book. He changed the rate from $2 to $3 during the drive…claimed that many drivers would get lost going to this location…The driver on [June 4] took a different and longer route than the driver of another cab company the next day… I will never use Checker Taxi or Yellow Cab in Chicago again.”

Some time later, Sheikh received notice of the charges against him, among them: failure to drive the most direct route, overcharged fare, failure to be courteous, failure to ascertain proper direct route before leaving airport. In addition, the charges stated that Kolis sought monetary restitution from Sheikh.

Sheikh’s route, the one given to him in his guide book, took him northwest from O’Hare on Interstate 294 and 90 before heading south on Interstate 290 in to Elk Grove Village. However, when consulting Google, Yahoo and MapQuest, directions to the Exel Inn travel 11 miles west from O’Hare on county roads (the likely route of Kolis’ return trip).

Despite this, Sheikh maintained his innocence. Since his passenger did not specify a route, he used the best available tool to reach his destination, a tool used by countless cabdrivers throughout the years. After all, how could anyone be expected to know the shortest route to every destination in Chicago and the suburbs, he wondered.

When his first hearing date arrived, Sheikh refused to accept the “plea-deal” offered to most drivers at 400 W. Superior (you know the one where the city attorney offers to drop a few charges if the driver agrees not to contest, thus paying a ‘reduced fine’ and avoiding a potentially costly hearing). After two continuations, he was given a hearing date of December 19 at 1:00 p.m.

At roughly 2:50 p.m., administrative hearing officer Richard P. Byrne called Sheikh’s case. DCS attorney Stuart Aperns began his attempt to establish the burden of proof by calling Kolis as a witness. However, as she had already returned to Oklahoma, Aperns literally called her so she could testify via speakerphone.

This immediately agitated Sheikh, who insisted upon his right to face his accuser. Yet, in Chicago’s administrative hearings, facing one’s accuser has been expanded to include phone conversations. Sheikh protested, questioning how he could be assured the person on the other end of the phone was even Kolis and not somebody else?

Despite Sheikh’s protests, Kolis was allowed to give her testimony via phone. Byrne assured Sheikh that the oath administered to Kolis before her testimony would sufficiently serve as an assurance to her identity. With the dust settled, Aperns began his questioning, asking Kolis to describe in detail her trip in Sheikh’s taxi. She basically confirmed the information in her original complaint – that Sheikh consulted his map book before leaving, that the trip took between 30 and 40 minutes and cost her around $40, that traffic was light and that her return trip took roughly 20 to 25 minutes and cost $20 to $25.

Next came Sheikh’s turn at questioning Kolis. Not a trained lawyer, his questions were lighter and less focused. “Was I discourteous?” he asked. Her response: “No.” “Was I rude?” Again, she responded no.

With no more questions from Sheikh or Aperns, Kolis was allowed to leave (hang up) and both men turned their attention to Byrne as he prepared to announce his ruling. A look of joy and relief swept across Sheikh’s face as he heard Byrne say the city had not presented sufficient evidence to show the direct route was not taken and, as such, Sheikh would not be found liable for any of the seven charges against him.

Afterwards, Sheikh expressed appreciation that justice had prevailed and the risk he took in challenging the city paid off.

“It’s good that the judge is sensible and sees the facts,” Sheikh said through smiles and deep breaths.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Mike Foulks



Posts : 6
Join date : 2008-01-22

PostSubject: Re: Sheikh’s Day in Court   1/22/2008, 3:56 pm

I am glad that Sheikh had the courage and conviction to stand up for what was right and express it in the Chicago Dispatcher for all to see.

-Mike Foulks
Back to top Go down
View user profile
heidi



Posts : 2
Join date : 2008-01-28
Age : 40
Location : chicago il

PostSubject: illegal complaints   1/28/2008, 10:20 am

DID THIS CUST FIGURE THAT SHE WAS BEING DRIVEN FROM THE SUBURBS AT THE TIME OF HER SECOND CAB RIDE TO OHARE? FROM THE SUBURBS TO OHARE IS CHEAPER THAN OHARE TO THE SUBURBS. ALTHOUGH I UNDERSTAND COMPLAINTS MUST BE FOLLOWED THROUGH BY THE CITY, I DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW THE CITY CAN BRING FALSE CHARGES AGAINST CAB DRIVERS. IT HAPPENED TO ME. AND BY ANOTHER CAB DRIVER. WHEN YOU COMPLAIN TO THE CITY CAN THEY CHECK TO MAKE SURE THE DRIVER BEING COMPLAINED ABOUT WAS ACTUALLY DRIVING AT THE TIME OF THE ALLEGED INCIDENT? AND WHAT HAPPENS TO THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE FALSE ACCUSATIONS AGAINST THE CAB DRIVER? OBVIOUSLY NOTHING AS I KNOW OF. I WAS CLEARED OF MY CHARGES. BUT ALL THE TIME LEADING UP TO MY COURT DATE I WAS SCARED. THIS WAS MY JOB MY LIFE. AND SOMEONE TRIED TO TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME. I WAS SICK AS A DOG, DEPRESSED, RIDDLED WITH ANXIETY. IN THE END I WAS CLEARED OF ALL CHARGES. I BROUGHT EVIDENCE STATING THAT IN A PERSONAL LIGHT SOMEONE THAT I KNEW PERSONALLY WAS TRYING TO GET MY CL REVOKED. I BROUGHT PROOF. NAMES ADDRESSES, PROOF THAT I WAS NOT DRIVING AT THE TIME THE INCIDENT ALLEDGELY TOOK PLACE. BUT WHEN I INTIALLY RECEIVED THE COMPLAINT AND READ IT I KNEW THE COMPLAINT WAS BS. I WONDERED IF B4 PRESSING FALSE CHARGES AGAINST ME, THE CITY LOOKED IN MY RECORD TO SEE IF THE COMPLAINT MADE SENSE. OBVIOUSLY THEY DIDN'T. SO WHERES THE PERSON THAT TRIED TO TAKE MY LIVELIHOOD AND CARREER? STILL DRIVING AS FAR AS I KNOW. AND WHY? CAN'T THE CITY FIND A WAY TO PRESS CHARGES OF A FALSE REPORT AGAINST THE PERSON WHO MADE THE COMPLAINT? I GUESS NOT. IN THE END THEY DON'T SEEM TO CARE THAT THIS COULD HAPPEN TO ME AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN. SO WHAT DID I DO? I COPPED OUT. I QUIT DRIVING. I DON'T NEED THE HEADACHE AND BS OF THE JOB. I MAY NOT MAKE ALOT OF MONEY AT AN HOURLY JOB BUT THEN AGAIN I DON'T HAVE THE HEADACHES OF A DAY TO DAY CAB DRIVER. AND I WOULDN'T HAVE TO FIGHT FOR MY CL EVER AGAIN. AND THAT IS WHAT WILL MAKE ME HAPPY. INSTEAD OF PROTECTING SOME OF THE BEST CAB DRIVERS IN CHICAGO THE CITY WOULD RATHER HAVE MORE TURNOVER OF DRIVERS, AND MORE FRESH MEAT IN THE INDUSTRY TO TAKE MONEY FROM. I JUST COULDN'T DO IT ANYMORE. HEIDI
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Salim



Posts : 1
Join date : 2008-01-29

PostSubject: A shame of the city   1/29/2008, 2:52 pm

Heidi,

What happened to you is an example of how the city screws cabdrivers up. They make drivers come to court but the complainers can just phone in. Even if they don't the driver still loses time. Even though you proved your case you were still punished by taking the time to fight it.

Now the city wants to have the right to revoke a CL if you have three complaints!

This has to be unconstitutional.

Salim
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: Sheikh’s Day in Court   

Back to top Go down
 
Sheikh’s Day in Court
Back to top 
Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
 :: Cab Driver Discussion Forum-
Jump to: