CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Two taxicab companies, won a temporary restraining order from a Superior Court Judge this afternoon, meaning they can continue to operate at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport after a new contract takes effect on Monday.
Speedy and Diamond Cabs will be able to continue service at the airport.
That contact was designed to cut the number of cab companies at the airport from 12 to three and provide airport officials with more control over cabbies to assure cleaner cabs with better drivers.
A third cab company which lost out on the new city contract, Universal Cab, lost its bid before a federal judge to continue serving the airport while it sues over the deal.
Universal, Speedy and Diamond all maintain in their lawsuits that the Greater Charlotte Hospitality and Tourism Alliance and its president, Mohammad Jenatian, exercised undue political influence over the city council's decision of which taxicab companies would serve.
Jenatian and city officialshave said in separate interviews thatneither he nor the group influenced the bid.
Two of the winning bidders, Crown Cab and Taxi USA, donated $5,000 a year to be corporate partners of the GCHTA. The third winning bidder, City Cab, did not.
The operators of Universal Cab and Charlotte Checker Cab say Jenatian assured them they would win the airport bid if they joined his organization at the $5,000 level. Jenatian has said in telephone interviews thathe made no such assurance.
A separatemotion for a restraining orderbrought by the Independent Taxicab Owners and Operators Association--a group of owner/operators who work for all 12 taxicab companies--was taken under advisement by Superior Court Judge Calvin Murphy.
So on Monday, five cab companies will serve the Charlotte Douglas Airport instead of the current twelve: the two appellants Speedy and Diamond, plus the three companies awarded the new deal by city council--Taxi USA doing business as Yellow Cab, the newly formed City Cab and Crown Cab.
Multiple lawsuits over the airport contract are still pending.