NEW YORK — Michael Cohen’s taxi business will soon have to hit the brakes. New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission has ordered President Donald Trump’s former lawyer to divest from several taxi medallions he owns now that he’s a felon.
The TLC says it can move to revoke medallions, which allow their owners to operate yellow cabs, from anyone who is convicted of or pleads guilty to a felony. That dubious distinction applied to Cohen as of Tuesday, when he pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to tax evasion, making false statements to a bank and campaign finance violations.
The next day, TLC prosecuting attorney Andrew Rabin sent Cohen a letter demanding he transfer 10 medallions he owns to new, commission-approved owners by Sept. 10, or else the TLC will move to revoke them.
The letter gives Cohen a chance to cut his losses by possibly selling the medallions, which he owns through companies with names such as Sir Michael Hacking Corp. and Mad Dog Cab Corp. He could also transfer each entity’s shares, a TLC spokeswoman said.
The president’s embattled former confidant has until Sept. 3 to indicate his intent to divest from the medallions, says Rabin’s letter, first reported by Politico New York.
Unfortunately for Cohen, medallion prices have plummeted since ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft flooded the city’s streets. Most medallions sold last month went for less than $350,000, TLC records show. The average price reportedly peaked at more than $1 million in 2013.
Cohen’s taxi business played a significant role in the federal charges against him. Prosecutors said he hid more than $1 million in income related to his New York medallions over five years.
He also understated his medallion debt in a successful effort to secure a $500,000 home equity line of credit, then used some of that money to pay the porn star Stormy Daniels for her silence about her alleged affair with Trump, according to prosecutors.
The TLC’s orders aren’t the only woes Cohen’s taxi business has faced. Taxi companies owned by Cohen and his family had nearly $174,000 in open state tax warrants as of April.
Representatives for Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, did not provide comment Thursday on the TLC’s letter.