1 week 2 days ago

By John Aidan Byrne

New York City’s struggling yellow cabbies are facing the auction block.

A record 139 taxi medallions will be offered for sale in bankruptcy auction this month — the latest sign that a deluge of ride-sharing apps like Uber are squeezing cabbies out of business and deeper into debt, as well as pinching the incomes of for-hire drivers, according to analysts.

The medallions will be auctioned for a fraction of their original value — some likely having cost their owners as much as $1 million or more apiece.

A minimum of 20 will be sold, the auctioneers say. The collection is part of the 13,587 licensed medallions required to operate New York City’s fleet of iconic yellow cabs. Back in 2013, a medallion fetched a whopping $1.3 million.

Today, prices have plunged to between $160,000 to $250,000 each, as a wave of ride-sharing vehicles floods the market.

Last year, 46 medallions were reportedly sold at an auction in Queens for an average price of $186,000, snatched up by Connecticut-based MGPE, a hedge fund presumably seeking yield on a distressed asset.

For-hire vehicles on New York’s congested streets have surged from 50,000 in 2011, when Uber entered the New York market, to about 130,000 today.

Not surprisingly, earnings for yellow cabbies have fallen off the cliff — full-time average annual earnings, before taxes, are down from $45,000 as recently as 2013, to as low as $29,000 today, according to some estimates.

Uber drivers, who number about 60,000 on New York’s streets at any given time, are also taking a hit from increasing competition.

Their estimated average annual earnings, pre-tax, today hover between $30,000 and $34,000. Many individual for-hire drivers earn less than an hourly worker at McDonald’s.

“Uber has worked hard to grow the transportation pie, ensuring that all New Yorkers can get a ride in minutes, particularly in neighborhoods outside of Manhattan that have been long ignored by yellow taxis and underserved by public transit,” said Uber in a statement. “The majority of our trips are happening in the Bronx, Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn.”

© 2018 NYP Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

1 week 2 days ago

Call it the Uber effect: A record 139 New York City taxi medallions will be up for sale in bankruptcy auction this month as cab drivers continue to struggle to compete with ridesharing apps.

According to The New York Post, bidders will be able to snag some of the medallions for a fraction of their original value — some might have cost their owners as much as $1 million or more apiece. Back in 2013, a medallion went for $1.3 million.

Today, however, prices have dropped to between $160,000 to $250,000 each due to increasing competition from ridesharing apps such as Uber and Lyft.

Last year, 46 medallions were reportedly sold at an auction in Queens for an average price of $186,000, bought by Connecticut-based hedge fund MGPE. This month, a minimum of 20 will be sold.

Rideshare vehicles in New York have risen from 50,000 in 2011, when Uber first entered the New York market, to currently about 130,000.

As a result, earnings for yellow cabbies have dropped, with full-time average annual earnings, before taxes, down from $45,000 as recently as 2013, to as low as $29,000 today.

Earlier this year, a report revealed that Uber and Lyft have become more popular than yellow and green cabs in NYC.

Analysis of data from the Taxi and Limousine Commission from blogger Todd Schneider found that in February 2017, ride-hailing services made 65 percent more pickups than taxis did. And the two companies combined now make more pickups per month than taxis did in any month since the data began being analyzed in 2009.

“Over the past 4 years, ride-hailing apps have grown from 0 to 15 million trips per month, while taxi usage has only declined by around 5 million trips per month,” wrote Schneider.

The data also shows that ridesharing services have been utilized more than taxis in the outer boroughs since the beginning of 2016 — and that gap has dramatically widened in recent months. In fact, Uber and Lyft are ten times more popular than yellow and green taxis combined in the outer boroughs.

© 2018 What’s Next Media and Analytics.  All rights reserved.

1 week 2 days ago

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has turned away an appeal of a $28.1 million dollar judgment awarded to 6 plaintiffs (commonly referred to as the Beatrice Six) for damages imposed by a federal jury for a reckless investigation and manufacturing false evidence orchestrated  by the Gage County Sheriff’s department. The plaintiffs spent two decades in prison for the rape and murder of Helen Wilson, but DNA testing revealed that the murder was actually committed by another individual.
Gage County previously hired a law firm to help plan a potential Chapter 9 bankruptcy case to avoid payment of the judgment (see Can Gage County Discharge Intentional Wrongdoing in Bankruptcy?),  and now that the appeal has been lost it appears that the county must make a final decision on whether to file a case.

This case is familiar to us, as it is to Nebraskans and much of the nation. It returns after three prior opinions by this Court, two trials, and, now, one jury verdict that is contested on this appeal. We are asked here, in large part, to sweep the pieces off the board—to overturn our prior rulings—in order to vacate the jury’s verdict. We decline to do so. And, after careful examination of the remaining claims on appeal, we find no other reason to disturb the verdict or rulings by the district court. Thus, we affirm.

There is little doubt that a county whose annual budget is roughly the same amount as the judgment in question cannot afford to pay the judgment in one financial year, but there is also little doubt that the county would have no problem paying the judgment over a term of years with modest real estate tax hike.
Ultimately, the Nebraska bankruptcy court will have to decide whether a Chapter 9 case filed with the sole purpose of denying just compensation to 6 plaintiffs wrongfully incarcerated for 20 years of their lives can be approved when the county has ample revenue sources to pay the debt in full over a reasonable period of time.  Should the bankruptcy court even entertain the notion of allowing a Chapter 9 plan to be confirmed until the county shows a good faith effort to pay a significant portion of the judgment? Can the county actually propose any plan in good faith if it fails to increase taxes by even 1% to pay some of this judgment?

1 week 3 days ago

Arizona Money Judgment Validity and Renewal Deadline Extended from Five Years to Ten
Guest Post: Larry FolksFolks Hess Kass, PLC
On March 20, 2018, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed into law House Bill 2240, which extends, from five years to 10 years, the validity of and renewal deadline for a money judgment. The effective date of the new law is August 3, 2018.
Our understanding is that the deadline for expiration and renewal of money judgments included in A.R.S. § 12-15511 is a statute of limitation, per Jensen v. Beirne. If that is correct, then A.R.S. §12-505(B) provides that, when a statute of limitation (such as this one) is amended and an action was not otherwise barred by pre-existing law, “the time fixed in an amendment of such law shall govern the limitation of the action.”
Based on the foregoing, we conclude that, after August 3, 2018, any money judgment that has not yet expired (pursuant to the current five-year limitations deadline imposed by A.R.S. § 12-1551) will be valid and can be renewed until 10 years after entry of said judgment on the Superior Court docket. In addition, the rule authorizing successive renewals of judgments has not changed.
Folks Hess Kass’s legal services to financial institutions and other creditors include enforcing and renewing money judgments in Arizona.

The post Arizona Judgment Renewal Law Changed to 10 Years appeared first on Diane L. Drain - Phoenix Bankruptcy & Foreclosure Attorney.

1 week 3 days ago

Multiple Bankruptcies Can Result in a Conviction for Bankruptcy Fraud

Many people do not understand the consequences of filing multiple bankruptcies.  It is very important to know that every bankruptcy filed (even if the process is not completed) will stay on the credit for ten years.
Filing bankruptcy will stay on your public record forever.
Also, once the bankruptcy is filed you cannot remove it from the public record if you decide not to go forward.
Bankruptcy will stop a foreclosure and perhaps an eviction (for a short time), but can land you in prison if you abuse the process.
Filing bankruptcy to stop a foreclosure is not a good reason unless you intend on completing the bankruptcy process.  CHARLISE WILLIAMS found out the hard way that filing several bankruptcy petitions (serial filings) to stop a foreclosure or avoid an eviction can result in a conviction for bankruptcy fraud.  Ms. Williams is now spending the next four years in a federal prison for this bankruptcy fraud.
What is the story about this bad faith bankruptcy?
Ms. Williams owned a condominium, did not pay the secured debts so the condominium association moved to evict her.  According to Circuit Judge Joel M. Flaum, the filings followed the same pattern:

Her scheme was generally as follows. After filing for bankruptcy, Williams would fail to make all required payments as required by her Chapter 13 payment plan. As a result, the bankruptcy court would dismiss the case. After the dismissal, SCCA would often file eviction and collection suits. Williams would then file a new Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition in order to stay the action. Again, Williams would fail to make most of the required plan payments, and the cycle would continue.

prisonMs. Williams filed five bankruptcies over a decade – all to try to stop the foreclosure/eviction process on her condo.  She even involved a friend in this fraud by transferring title to the friend, after which the friend filed for bankruptcy.  This did not work out well for the friend because he was also sued for bankruptcy fraud.  Eventually the friend admitted he committed perjury as part of filing his own bankruptcy, and, in exchange for avoiding a felony conviction, the friend testified against Ms. Williams about the scam.

NOTE: bankruptcy is not a game.
Never go down this path without understanding the implications on your life (present and future).  Never lie on any legal document.  Never lie on the stand.

The post Prison Sentence For Filing Several Bankruptcies (to Stop a Foreclosure) appeared first on Diane L. Drain - Phoenix Bankruptcy & Foreclosure Attorney.

1 week 1 day ago

In a recent opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (the “Court”) ruled that penalties assessed by the state of Michigan against two debtors, stemming from fraud associated with the wrongful receipt of Michigan unemployment benefits, are non-dischargeable in Chapter 13 bankruptcy pursuant to Bankruptcy Code § 523(a)(2).1 Read More ›
Tags: 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Chapter 13

2 weeks 2 hours ago

Mulvaney says Trump wants him to stop the CFPB from ‘strangling’ capitalism
He now crushes the voice of the only organization that tries to protect you and me as consumers.
Mick MulvaneyMulvaney protecting payday lenders and banks.
November, 2017 Trump appointed Mick Mulvaney as “acting” director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, at the same time he was also the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.  June 6, 2018 Mick Mulvaney dealt what may be a death blow to the value of that organization by firing the agency’s 25-member advisory board,a few days after some of its members challenged Mulvaney’s questionable leadership of the watchdog agency.  The members include prominent consumer advocates, academics and industry executives who were concerned that Mulvaney was making decisions about the agency’s future that would directly harm consumers (the very reason why the organization was formed).
CFPB has collected $11.7 BILLION in penalties against banks and large business
The agency has realized more than $11.7 billion in “relief,” meaning penalties and other items like forgiven debt balances, passing the benefits on to more than 27 million consumers.
Mulvaney has no intention of putting consumers above financial firms that cheat them.
MulvaneyMulvaney wants to stop Warren’s influence
“Mick Mulvaney has no intention of putting consumers above financial firms that cheat them. This is what happens when you put someone in charge of an agency they think shouldn’t exist,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who helped conceive of the bureau, said in a statement.  Mulvaney trying to eliminate Sen. Warren’s influence on CFPB.
Payday lenders and banks are more important than those being cheated by financial scams.
Payday lenders fought, and lost, a battle to block new federal rules curbing short-term loans that critics say can trap people in cycles of debt, but under Mulvaney that “win” becomes a loss.  Mulvaney sides with payday lenders.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said: “Mulvaney has proven once again he would rather cozy up with payday lenders and industry insiders than listen to consumer advocates who want to make sure hard-working Americans are not cheated by financial scams.”
Read more…

The post Mulvaney, Trump’s Lackey, Guts Consumer Protection Bureau appeared first on Diane L. Drain - Phoenix Bankruptcy & Foreclosure Attorney.

2 weeks 20 hours ago

disabled vetOur vets need some relief.
May, 2018 – Over the next few months the Department of Education will be sending letters to totally and permanently disabled veterans that they are eligible to have their student loans forgiven.  These loans will be  federal student loans or aid from the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education grant program.  should receive a letter letting them know that they are eligible to have their student loan debt forgiven over the next few months, federal officials said in a statement earlier this month.
In reviewing their files the Department found that almost half of these loans were in default.  Read more…

The post Disabled Vet’s Federal Student Loans To be Forgiven appeared first on Diane L. Drain - Phoenix Bankruptcy & Foreclosure Attorney.

2 weeks 2 days ago

When debtors file Chapter 13, all disposable income is paid into the plan and used by the trustee to offset plan expenses. Only regular income, not considered disposable, is the income used to establish and make plan payments and pay reasonable expenses, such as: housing, food, and transportation. Tax refunds are considered disposable income and, typically, must be paid into the plan.
The post How Does Bankruptcy Affect Your Tax Refund? appeared first on Tucson Bankruptcy Attorney.

3 weeks 2 days ago

By Nikita Stewart and Luis Ferré-Sadurni
On a corner of 86th Street and East End Avenue in Manhattan on Sunday, three posters for a missing man were still hanging on a lamp post about a block from the East River.
That was where the police found the man’s parked taxicab, the biggest investment of his life. The man, Yu Mein Chow, had taken out a loan seven years ago to buy a $700,000 medallion that gave him the right to operate a cab.
Mr. Chow, 56, who lived in Queens and went by the nickname “Kenny,” disappeared on May 11. His body was found floating in the East River about nine miles south, near the Brooklyn Bridge, on Wednesday. Friends and family members believe Mr. Chow jumped to his death, adding to a string of apparent suicides of traditional taxi and livery drivers in the city. It marked the fifth suicide in just over five months. The medical examiner has not yet determined a cause of death.
New York City’s cab industry, dependent on the market value of the once-coveted taxi medallion, has been upended by the proliferation of Uber and other ride-sharing services. Drivers have been demanding changes at City Hall to protect their livelihood, but at least five cabbies have buckled under the strain of debt since December as others describe working 12- and 14-hour shifts to make up for the lost income. One driver shot himself in February outside City Hall after leaving a message on Facebook blaming the industry’s demise on politicians.
On Sunday, Richard Chow, Mr. Chow’s older brother, went to the street where the police found the taxi as part of a vigil that drew dozens of the driver’s friends and fellow cabbies on a bleak afternoon. He climbed the stone steps of nearby Carl Schurz Park and headed toward the iron fence on an esplanade that overlooks the river. “I loved my brother. He was very hard working. He loved his family,” Mr. Chow managed to say before his voice broke and his eyes teared up. “That’s all I want to say.”
The medallion system was created to limit the number of cabdrivers, but ride-sharing apps have rendered it useless, said Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York City Taxi Workers Alliance. Last year, data showed that more people used Uber than yellow cabs in the city. Once sold for more than $1 million, taxi medallions are now selling for as little as $175,000, according to data collected by the Taxi and Limousine Commission.
Ms. Desai said she has been transformed into a part-time counselor to despondent drivers who call her in the wee hours of the morning and a part-time eulogist who talks to family and friends to share the stories of the deceased.
Born in Burma, Yu Mein Chow did not immediately take up taxi driving as a profession when he first moved to the United States as a young man. He became a jeweler, Ms. Desai said.
When the business he worked for closed, she said, “He had to reinvent himself. That’s when he started to drive a taxi cab.”
Mr. Chow bought a medallion in 2011, just as Uber was beginning to operate in New York City. By last year, Mr. Chow was realizing that his $700,000 investment was not paying off. He could not afford his daughter’s college education. He could not afford the medical bills after his wife was diagnosed with cancer, Ms. Desai said.
Ms. Desai said Mr. Chow went to make a payment on his medallion loan a few days before he went missing. His credit card was declined.
On Sunday, mourners bowed their heads three times to honor their friend. Richard Chow grabbed a red flower and a white flower and walked toward the iron fence that divides the city from the choppy waters of the East River. More people followed, and together they threw flowers into the river.
Behind them, new posters they had hung on a pole read: “Rest in Peace. Beloved father, husband, brother, friend, NYC taxi driver.”
Copyright 2018 The New York Times Company.  All rights reserved.