By Mark Waite
LAS VEGAS — Nevada Transportation Authority Commissioner George Assad, sitting as a hearing examiner, suspended the license of Pahrump Valley Taxi owner Jit Mann on Wednesday.
Mann was ordered to appear at 10 a.m. March 14 at the NTA office in Las Vegas to show cause for why his operating privileges shouldn’t be revoked.
Currently both Mann’s Pahrump Valley Taxi service and his limousine business, Knight Limousine Services — still named after former Pahrump Valley Taxi Company owners Chuck and Laurie Knight — are under a cease and desist order, Deputy District Attorney David Newton explained.
Mann stipulated to all the facts in the citations issued against him. He declined an attorney, but after the Wednesday hearing indicated he’d like one for the show cause hearing.
“The parties are stipulating that the facts in the investigative report are accurate,” Newton said.
Assad said the transportation authority found the fine amounts of the citations would be inadequate in this case and the March 14 hearing will be converted to a revocation proceeding.
“I find because of the public health, safety and welfare, the imperatives that require this emergency action are that a summary suspension of his certificate may be ordered at this time,” Assad said.
Mann met in a confidential negotiation session with the deputy attorney general prior to the public hearing in an attempt to come to an agreement.
In the public hearing that followed, Mann said, “on most of this I will conclude I was kept in doubt. Most of the staff and the drivers gave me no chance. All I wanted was to change the payroll dates to the 14th or 15th of the month, and the 10th of the month and 25th of the month.”
He said LogistiCare, an insurance company that contracts for drivers for non-emergency medical visits, paid his company on the ninth and 24th of the month.
“This company has been in business for 20 years and it looks like all staff kept me in the dark and put me in this situation. That’s all I have to say. Maybe they want to close a minority-owned business. That is the main motivation. That is all I can think of because I don’t see any relief. Still, the previous drivers and the public people are still picking up passengers. I have the phone numbers, the names who they’re picking up; I have the vehicles,” Mann said. “I should be investigating them.”
Assad invited Mann to file a complaint for any violations with the NTA investigative unit after the hearing.
Three former Pahrump Valley Taxi drivers showed up for the hearing but weren’t given a chance to speak. Newton explained testimony wasn’t required since Mann stipulated to the charges. Newton invited the cab drivers back to the March 14 show cause hearing but indicated the hearing examiner may or may not allow testimony.
Tina DiNapoli, one of the former drivers, said after the hearing that Mann’s objection to a driver still picking up customers for LogistiCare wasn’t valid, since that company provides a separate contract. She said Mann has claimed discrimination before, even against the officer who wrote up the citations.
While the former drivers waited for the public hearing to begin, one of them, Rich Canapary, said people who know the Pahrump community should be involved in the hearing.
“You drive all these years, you get to know your customers and your community. I talk to my customers all the time,” DiNapoli said. “We’ve known these people for years. We’ve been transporting them and they become family for goodness sake.”
Based on the proceedings Wednesday, Canapary said he didn’t think what the cab drivers said would change anything.
“This is the second time. What’s to say this isn’t going to happen again and how many opportunities do you allow this person to hang the community?” DiNapoli asked.
Mann didn’t want to make any comments to the Pahrump Valley Times.
The NTA threw the book at Mann. Here is a list of the citations:
* Interrupting service for more than 48 hours in a 180-day period without notifying the authority and obtaining an order;
* Using the vehicles of an authorized carrier beyond the scope of their authority;
* Failure to enroll in random alcohol and controlled substance testing program;
* Failure to have drivers fill out a report in writing at the completion of each day;
* Failure to provide periodic inspections;
* Failure to affix the name and certificate of public convenience and necessity on the vehicles;
* Failure to have a 2005 Chrysler insured;
* Failure to charge rates according to the filed taxi tariff;
* Failure to pay the $75 annual fee to the Nevada Transportation Authority;
* Failure to post in the vehicles the schedule of rates;
* Failure to post in the vehicles a sign at least five inches by seven inches listing the name of the company, taxi cab number and a phone number of the Nevada Transportation Authority if the passenger wishes to make a complaint;
* Failure to have a license plate indicating it’s a taxi;
* Failure to have cruising lights overhead and the number of the taxicab on the right front fenders and the trunk;
* Failure to equip taxi cabs with a green light that can be activated to indicate the driver requires emergency assistance;
* Failure to equip vehicles with an electronic taximeter and an amber light on the roof of the cab that must light up when the taximeter is not in operation;
* Failure to require drivers to keep a daily trip sheet;
* Failure to have the taximeter inspected before putting vehicles into service;
* Failure to require drivers to time stamp their trip sheets at the beginning and end of their shifts, regulations prohibit drivers working longer than 12 consecutive hours except to complete a trip and no more than 16 hours out of a 24-hour period;
* Failure to notify the NTA and have vehicles inspected by an authorized employee of the authority;
* Two counts of failure to withdraw a vehicle from service at the end of the day and not place it back into operation unless it is structurally sound with a minimum of noise and vibration, doesn’t have any cracked, broken or badly dented fenders and is painted to provided reasonable protection against structural deterioration;
* Failure to operate according to the terms and conditions of the certificate.