A courageous cabby has blown the whistle on a Queens taxi-garage owner who repeatedly overcharged drivers for leasing their cars, according to a new class-action lawsuit.
Since 2008, Samir Talbi and 124 other drivers say that Mike Mellis, who operates Boulevard Taxi Leasing in Long Island City, forced them to rent a cab for the entire week — while still paying the rates for individual days, according to court documents.
So instead of charging the drivers the weekly lease rate of $666, which is the Taxi and Limousine Commission mandated maximum, the garage would simply add up the TLC-approved individual day rates: $115 for Sunday, $120 on Monday and Tuesday, $120 for Wednesday, and $129 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the suit says.
That’s $852 a week.
But it didn’t stop there, the Queens Supreme Court suit claims. The garage also tacked on fees for each day, bringing the total to $894 a week.
Steve Gounaris, a principal at the garage, said the hiked-up fees account for “state sales tax” — even though the TLC rules say no owner “may charge or accept from a driver any payment of any kind, such as a tax.”
Gounaris went on to say that the daily lease charges listed in the lawsuit are the rates charged by his garage.
The suit also accuses the garage of forcing the drivers to pay extra on holidays.
Talbi said through his lawyer that he would not comment for fear of losing his job.
Gounaris told The Post it’s a moot point, saying, “He ain’t gonna come back here and work again.”
Additional reporting by Erin Calabrese