Cab companies may sue to get back into airport contract

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Mike Levie drove customers into the city from Charlotte Douglas International Airport for 10 years.

But three years ago, he and many other cab drivers were left out on the curb when the Charlotte City Council voted to limit the cab business at the airport to only three companies. 

Since then, it’s been tough getting by.

“We're losing salary. My family's losing salary,” Levie said as he stood outside his brand-new cab that is still not allowed to pick up fares at the airport.

It’s the story that some cab company owners want city leaders to hear as they push for a new contract that will allow other companies back to the airport and some said they’re prepared to go to court to make it happen.

“When we speak, we speak as an industry as a whole,” said Oaid Khan, who owns Diamond Cab -- one of the companies left out of the airport contract.

Khan said he’s convinced that the decision to leave his and other companies out of the rotation came because they didn’t join a local civic organization that is aimed at promoting the local hospitality industry. 

The issue came up again when it was revealed that former mayor Patrick Cannon was tied to the group and Khan said it was clearly a “pay-for-play” arrangement.

“You don't have to be an expert to see this was set up,” Khan said.

Khan went to City Council Monday when he heard that the contract had been quietly renewed without any public discussion, but the city manager told council members that was not true.

“I think one of the things we learned (Monday) night is that there was some misunderstanding about whether existing contracts have been mysteriously renewed," said Mayor Dan Clodfelter.

Clodfelter said the city is in a fact-finding period and they do not have new contract with any companies.

But Khan said he is not waiting and may file a lawsuit in the coming weeks to make up for the business they have lost over the last three years.

“I'm not looking just for Diamond to get back to the airport but for every company including some that have been shut down because of this corruption thing. We're looking for everyone to get back in the airport,” Khan said.

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