No Luck With Cars for West Side Pols

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by dan rivoli

you'd think a congressman from the upper west side would have an easier time dealing with cabbies. but a washington dc hack is accusing rep. jerrold nadler of skipping out on his $8 fare.

according to news reports, cab driver abraham habteab filed a police report claiming nadler refused to pay up for a trip from the union station train stop to a hotel.

habteab told my fox dc that the congressman wanted him to keep the meter running while he dropped off luggage at the hotel so he could be driven back to capitol hill. habteab wanted nadler to pay his fare first, then pay a second fare for the next stop.

"he said i will not pay you if you don't take me running the same meter which we came with," habteab told my fox dc.

when habteab, who didn't know his passenger was a congressman, called police, he said nadler caught another cab and left.

nadler's office responded: "this whole situation was just a misunderstanding and we are working now to resolve it. everyone will be happy at the end of the day."

(my fox dc notes that in the nation's capital, the passenger has to pay the entire fare, including waiting time when arriving at the first stop. when a passenger asks a cab driver to wait or go to a new destination, the meter starts again.)

update: nadler wrote in a statement that asking the cab driver to leave the meter running while at the hotel was in accordance with taxi regulations for dc. the taxi commission chairman backed up nadler in an e-mail .

"you should be able to make the trip you described to me without the meter being restarted regardless of the direction of travel," the chair of the dc taxicab commission wrote to nadler in an e-mail.

"therefore, as mr. habteab would not obey the law and take me to my final destination, i was obligated to find another driver who would," nadler said in the statement. "of course taxi drivers have rights, but so do passengers. i am working with the taxicab commission and mr. habteab to ensure that he receives the correct payment, despite his misinterpretation of the law."

meanwhile, in upper west side politician-automobile news, state sen. eric schneiderman was accused of being in a hit-and-run car accident after taping an interview at ny1's chelsea office july 12.

schneiderman, an attorney general candidate, was a passenger in the car being driven by his staffer, who, oddly enough, is the niece of supreme court nominee and upper west side native elena kagan.

ny1 accused the staffer of rear ending a parked car on ninth avenue owned by melissa rabinovich, a ny1 executive editor, then driving off without leaving a note.

the accident caused a broken rear bumper, rear panel and tail light, according to ny1's report. the damages were estimated to cost $3,000.

rabinovich says she only learned of the accident because a bicyclist witnessed it, recorded schneiderman's license plate number, and then remained on the scene until rabinovich left work for the day.

james freedland, spokesperson for schneiderman, called the "hit-and-run" characterization "nothing short of outrageous."

here's the schneiderman camp's version of the story:

"for ny1 to call this a 'hit and run' is nothing short of outrageous. last night when pulling out of a parking space, a staff member driving eric schneiderman's car bumped the car parked in front of them. the senator was in the passenger seat and did not believe that either his car or the car in front of his had sustained damage. he later discovered his car had been dented, and this morning was notified it had damaged the bumper and tail light of the other car. he has spoken with the owner of the other vehicle, expressed his sincere apology, and offered to pay for all repairs. no injuries were sustained."

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