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I-TEAM: Yellow Cab Pressured City To Take Action Against Rival

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Brian New
Brian joined the CBS 11 News team in 2013 after working a...
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Ever since driving into Dallas more than a year ago, the car service technology company, Uber, has run into opposition from city hall.

Behind that opposition the CBS 11 I-Team consistently found Uber’s competition, Yellow Cab.

Yellow Cab’s attorney, John Barr, told the I-Team all the cab company wants is for the city to enforce the same rules on Uber that it has on Yellow Cab for the past 30 years.

City records show when those rules were not being enforced equally on Uber, Yellow Cab put pressure on city hall to take action.

Yellow Cab’s influence was highlighted in an investigation report Mayor Mike Rawlings released on Wednesday.

Rawlings said, “Several wrong decisions and bad judgments were made throughout the process.”

The 89-page investigation report explained how a proposed city transportation ordinance aimed at Uber made it on the council’s consent agenda without the knowledge of council members.  Most of the blame was put on city manager A.C. Gonzalez.

According to the report, Gonzalez asked the city attorney’s office to draft the transportation ordinance based primarily off a draft given to the city by Yellow Cab.

Rawlings said, “Even if he thought they were correctly written, it creates the after the fact perception that one private company is getting too much influence at city hall.”

Councilman Philip Kingston said it’s more than just perception.

“There is not one indication that city staff was motivated by the desire to protect the citizens of Dallas,” he said about the proposed ordinance. “It was entirely at the behest and the request of Yellow Cab.”

Despite the mayor’s disappointment, he said the investigation revealed nothing illegal or unethical took place.

As city council reviewed the report Wednesday, the attorney representing the Uber drivers said he received a call from the city attorney’s office.

All 61 citations issued to the 31 Uber drivers in an undercover sting from earlier this year had been dropped.

Among other violations, officers cited the drivers for operating without the proper city permit.

“We think it was part of a bigger scheme to get rid of Uber in the City of Dallas,” said attorney Joel Reese.

In an email, obtained by the CBS11 I-Team, written from a registered lobbyist of Yellow Cab to the city manager’s office, Yellow Cab requested the city ticket Uber drivers.

A few months later, the Dallas Police Department’s vice squad set up an undercover sting on Uber drivers.

The report indicated Police Chief David Brown expressed his concerns about the undercover operation to the city attorney as well as the city manager.

The mayor said the city will review its transportation ordinances but this time it will be done through the transportation committee and in full sight of city council.

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