The East Hampton Licensing Review Board is expected to decide within a month whether to revoke the license of a Springs taxi cab company owner accused of forging licensing documents to make one of his taxis appear to be properly licensed when it was not.
In the meantime, the license of Jaime Uzhcha, 30, will remain suspended, Town Attorney Michael Sendlenski said Monday. The case was heard last Wednesday night and represents East Hampton’s first administrative hearing in a taxi license revocation request.
Testimony was given in the case after the matter had been postponed in June and then again in July pending the outcome of a related felony allegation in East Hampton Town Justice Court in which Uzhcha was charged with possession of a forged instrument.
Uzhcha’s attorney, Carl Irace, of East Hampton, said Tuesday that his client struck a deal in the felony case in East Hampton Town Justice Court by pleading guilty to the lesser offense of disorderly conduct. He paid a $250 fine plus $125 in court costs.
Sendlenski said the five-member Licensing Review Board will now consider the testimony it heard and decide what to do.
Uzhcha operated his two-car cab company, Jimmy’s Taxi Service, out of his house on Karls Ruhe Cross Highway, Sendlenski said, 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 were 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.
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 thought he could make more money with the larger car,” Irace said of Uzhcha, a native of Ecuador. “English is his second language. He didn’t realize he was doing anything wrong but he understands now.”
Irace said Uzhcha told the review board he was desperate to continue making money to pay for the treatment of his son’s “serious brain condition.”
Sendlenski added that in Uzhcha’s testimony, “He admitted to doing things wrong but asked for mercy because of his disabled son.”