These days, the rise of Uber is not the only thing that taxi king Gene Friedman has on his mind. The owner of 800 taxi medallions in New York City will also be serving as his own counsel in a lawsuit that is pending in Manhattan Court. The suit will address charges that the King threatened to kill his former business partner’s entire family.
Friedman appeared in Court last Tuesday wearing skinny jeans, green dress shoes, and a windowpane blazer according to the Post. Friedman does have some appropriate credentials that will assist him in handling his case- he is a graduate of Cardozo Law School.
The Assistant District Attorney assigned to Friedman’s case, Jamar Green asked that a protective order be issued in favor of Friedman’s ex-partner, Savas Tsitiridis. He also referred to the evidence against Friedman as being “quite alarming.”
The prosecutor was referring to a call made on January 13 between Friedman and Tsitiridis. “Don’t f—ck with me, you know who I am, you know how I roll, I will kill you, your wife and your kids; maybe I will let you survive.”
The taxi king then sealed his fate in writing on January 16th, when he wrote: “Stop it and behave yourself and maybe we let you survive.” The complaint also makes note of a text sent to Tsitiridis’s phone “Just LMK where you gonna b2morrow whimp!” Friedman wrote.
The aggravated harassment charge pending against Tsitiridis is also accompanied by a lawsuit involving a failed Chicago cab operation Friedman and the complainant ran jointly.
In spite of the written evidence that pleads the contrary, Friedman told Judge Judy Kim that he never threatened his ex-partner.
Friedman claimed that the charges leveled against him were of a retaliatory nature. In their civil case, the two settled because a Judge forced a settlement. A criminal suit is Tsitiridis’s way of settling the outstanding score.
He referred to the email as being tongue and cheek, not to be taken on its face. Instead, the words were referring to the ongoing civil suit involving their Chicago cabs. “If I said, ‘I think we let you survive,’ that’s as far as his business is concerned.”
The Judge ultimately issued a protective order and released Friedman on his own recognizance.
This is not the first time in recent months that the controversial figure has made headlines.
Friedman was forced to hand over 46 of his taxis last year to pay off his creditors and the state attorney general’s office appointed a trustee to oversee his businesses last year as well. The attorney general claimed that the King was not fit to oversee his own fortune.
His 26-year old wife also filed for divorce, the custody battle is currently pending over their daughter.
By: Svetlana Poprinsky