In a piece headlined The Epic Rise and Hard Fall of New York’s Taxi King, the New York Times’ writer Brian M. Rosenthal does his best to bring the main character, fallen on hard times, into focus.
By: Mike Mustiglione
“The man known as the Taxi King arrived at his 2014 holiday party in a $384,000 Ferrari, wearing a custom Italian suit,” he wrote. “He told the guests whom he had invited to an upscale Manhattan club — including executives, politicians and celebrities — that he had flown in from Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, a town in the French Riviera where he owned two villas.
“Five years later, that man, Evgeny A. Freidman, stood in a mostly empty courtroom in Albany, N.Y., as a judge sentenced him to probation for tax fraud. In a hushed voice, he said he had lost everything. “I’m trying to be remorseful and understanding for anybody I might have harmed,” he told the judge at the hearing in October. “I’m very humbled by what has happened.” The Times added, “While his business partners lost millions because of his tax fraud, Mr. Freidman avoided prison by cooperating with a federal investigation into one of his partners, Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer.”
Freidman is a controversial Russian-American businessman who formerly owned a large taxi fleet in New York City, Taxi Club Management (TCM). He is, according to Wikipedia, “a disbarred attorney who has been dubbed the “Taxi King” or “Kingpin.” He is a convicted felon, and has faced repeated criminal and civil legal issues.”
Freidman’s case was being heard in Albany “because tax returns are filed here,” noted timesunion.com. “Almost every taxicab ride in New York City is charged a 50-cent tax, which helps fund the Metropolitan Transit Authority. Prosecutors for Attorney General Letitia James said Freidman and his chief financial officer, Andreea Dumitru of Queens, who later pleaded guilty, withheld the money by improperly filing or failing to file returns, failing to pay the tax on filed returns and by filing false returns.”
When Freidman pleaded guilty, “the New York Times cited an unnamed source who said Freidman agreed to assist in state and federal investigations, including one into Cohen,” reported the web site. “The newspaper had reported that Freidman and Cohen were business partners.”
Friedman’s notoriety has been longstanding. In 2017, “the Attorney General’s office filed an indictment charging Freidman and his codefendant and reported business partner, Andreea Dumitru, with four counts of criminal tax fraud in the first degree and one count of grand larceny in the first degree,” Forbes reported.