* As noted below, Gov. Quinn celebrated with Uber today as it announced it would add 420 jobs in Chicago…
Uber Technologies Inc., is keeping an informal political deal it had struck with Gov. Pat Quinn and, as a result, Chicago will be getting hundreds of new Midwest headquarters jobs.
The big ride-sharing firm today announced that it will add 420 jobs to its Central Region headquarters in Chicago by the end of 2016, more than quadrupling the number of non-driving staffers it has here now.
Uber had dangled the possibility of such jobs while Mr. Quinn was considering signing a bill that Yellow, Checker and other conventional cab companies had been pushing to impose tighter rules on companies that dispatch vehicles via cell phone apps. And now that Mr. Quinn has done so, the company says it’s moving ahead.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Michael Zalewski (D-Riverside), says he has enough votes to override…
Noting that the bill passed the Il. House with 80 votes and got a “substantial” majority in the Senate, Zalewski predicted that the votes will be there for an override.
“This is a public safety issue. You have Uber-X drivers riding all over Northeastern Illinois who are not subject to proper background checks and don’t have enough insurance. We need to make sure riders are safe,” Zalewski said. […]
Zalewski scoffed at the suggestion that an override of the governor’s veto could cost Chicago 420 new jobs.
“Uber is an innovative, strong company that wants to grow in Chicago. They just feel that government regulation will interfere with their business model and make them less successful than they are now. I disagree. They’ll be just fine,” he said.
* But the US Attorney’s office just sent out this press release..
CHICAGO TAXICAB OPERATOR INDICTED AND ARRESTED FOR ALLEGEDLY CONSPIRING TO FALSIFY TITLES OF SALVAGED AND REBUILT TAXIS
CHICAGO ― A Chicago used car broker and taxicab operator was arrested today after being indicted on federal charges for allegedly causing at least 180 vehicles that were salvaged or rebuilt to illegally obtain clean titles from Indiana and Illinois and, as a result, to illegally operate as licensed and registered taxicabs in the City of Chicago.
The defendant, ALEXANDER IGOLNIKOV, 67, of Northbrook, was charged with one count of conspiracy and two counts each of interstate transportation of false automobile titles and possession of false auto titles in a five-count indictment that was returned by a federal grand jury on Aug. 27 and unsealed today following his arrest.
Ignolikov was scheduled to appear at 3 p.m. today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey T. Gilbert in Courtroom 1386 in U.S. District Court.
Igolnikov, also known as “Alexandr Igolnikov” and “Alex,” was the owner of Seven Amigos Used Cars and vice president of Chicago Elite Cab Corp., which operated taxis under city taxi medallions managed by Chicago Elite Cab and related entities affiliated with Chicago Carriage Taxi Company. City taxi medallion rules prohibit any vehicle that was ever issued a “salvage” or “rebuilt” title in any state from being used as a taxicab in Chicago.
The indictment alleges that between 2007 and April 2010 Ignolikov conspired with three unnamed auto brokers, two in Indiana and one in Illinois, to purchase vehicles with salvage titles from online auction sites; fraudulently obtain either clean or rebuilt Indiana titles for those vehicles by submitting false paperwork to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles; and then using those re-issued Indiana titles to obtain clean Illinois titles, concealing that the vehicles were previously issued salvage or rebuilt titles.
According to the indictment, in many instances, Ignolikov agreed with three auto brokers to have the damaged vehicles towed from the online auctions sites’ yards in out-of-state locations to the premises of Seven Amigos and Chicago Carriage near 26th Street and South Wabash Avenue in Chicago, where the vehicles would be repaired.
In addition to submitting false paperwork concealing the vehicles’ history and damage to Indiana authorities, Ignolikov and the brokers also submitted a false affidavit certifying that an Indiana law enforcement officer had personally examined the vehicles and verified certain identifying information, the charges allege. In reality, no officer had examined the vehicle and the affidavit of a police officer was signed by unnamed Officer A for a fee, or unnamed Officer B, or other individuals without any physical inspection, according to the indictment.
In some instances, based on the allegedly false towing paperwork and false police affidavits, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles issued clean titles to various auto brokers for vehicles that were previously issued salvage titles. In other instances, other individuals obtained Indiana rebuilt titles through fraud and then placed stickers on those titles concealing that the titles identified the vehicles as being rebuilt. After obtaining either a clean or rebuilt Indiana title for the vehicles, Ignolikov purchased the vehicles in the name of Seven Amigos, Chicago Elite Cab, or other businesses and paid a premium above the purchase price in exchange for the brokers’ work in securing the clean or rebuilt Indiana titles, the indictment alleges.
Finally, Ignolikov and his business associates allegedly used the clean and rebuilt Indiana titles to obtain clean Illinois titles for the vehicles, and later concealed from the City of Chicago the fact that the vehicles were previously issued salvage or rebuilt titles, which prohibited them from being used as taxis.
So much for the “public safety” argument.