The East Hampton Licensing Review Board on Wednesday evening adjourned a hearing on the license of a Springs taxi cab owner accused of forging licensing documents to make one of his taxis appear to be properly licensed when it was not.
The hearing was adjourned until July 20, but the board in the meantime suspended Jaime Uzhcha’s license, Town Attorney Michael Sendlenski said Thursday. It will be the town’s first administrative hearing in a taxi license revocation request.
Sendlenski said Uzhcha, 30, of 7 Karls Ruhe Cross Hwy., requested a delay of the hearing due to a pending felony charge. He pleaded not guilty to possession of a forged instrument in East Hampton Town Justice Court on Thursday and was released on $250 bail, said his attorney, Carl Irace of East Hampton. If convicted, Uzhcha faces 1 to 7 years in jail and/or up to 5 years’ probation, according to Irace.
“We look forward to asserting our defense,” Irace said.
Sendlenski said Wednesday that Uzhcha operated his two-car cab company, Jimmy’s Taxi Service, out of his house, noting that as a single-family homeowner, Uzhcha is allowed to own and operate up to two cabs.
Sendlenski said, however, that Uzhcha transferred the two stickers that are to be affixed to the front and rear windows of licensed cabs from one car that had been properly licensed to another that had not been licensed by the town. He added he changed the stickers’ expiration date from 2015 to 2016 by writing in the date.
When asked to comment on the allegations, Irace, in a telephone interview Wednesday said, “It’s complicated.”
Irace said there were actually three cars involved and that one of the cars in Uzhcha’s two-cab fleet, a Crown Victoria, was “out of commission” so he transferred the stickers from that car onto an Econoline 250 Club Wagon.
“He didn’t go through the process the right way, but it was not like he was trying to pull a fast one,” Irace said of his client.
With Will James