NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City’s billionaire mayor is normally a pretty cool customer. But a fellow rich businessman says Michael Bloomberg recently went all hot head, unloading on him, with a profanity-filled taxi tirade.
It’s a “hail” of a claim from the New York taxi king Gene Freidman, who controls a billion dollars’ worth of medallions.
He told the New York Post that last week at a Knicks game Mayor Bloomberg got in his face, saying “Come Jan. 1, when I am out of office, I am going to destroy your (expletive) industry. I am going to destroy all you (expletive) guys,” CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported Wednesday.
Freidman told the paper, [Bloomberg] was very angry, very scary … He was grinding his teeth. He was spitting. He was red and he was in my face.”
It was a memorable encounter, right? Well, not according to the mayor.
“The Knicks won, it was a great game and I had a great time. That’s what I remember from that night,” Bloomberg said Wednesday.
Bloomberg has clashed in court with Freidman over implementation of the mayor’s “Taxi of Tomorrow” initiative, and his efforts to expand taxi service into the boroughs.
“What a disgrace. You get into a taxi and it won’t take you to 80 percent of our city? What kind of a city is that?” Bloomberg said recently.
The mayor also stuck it to Freidman last year, making sure the 17-percent taxi fare hike went completely to the drivers, and not to the corporate owners, like Freidman.
A taxi drivers’ union rep told Aiello if the mayor went after Freidman, “It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Mr. Freidman treats his drivers as punching bags every day.”
Freidman told the tabloid he’s nervous about the mayor using his wealth to lobby against the industry, and he’s asked Madison Square Garden to preserve any security video that might have captured the angry encounter.
CBS 2 reached Freidman on his cellphone, but he referred the station to his public relations representative. She had no comment.
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