tv [untitled] September 12, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm PDT
during and after these hearings, mr. kipnis submitted additional weigh bills, now for the second hearing in 2011, we reviewed those weigh bills and we found numerous discrepancies and problems with those weigh bills and i'm going to introduce mr. scott leon who's been the investigator from the very beginning to go over those discrepancies with you within our timeframe. thank you. >> good evening, board members, commissioners, my name is scott leon and i am the investigator for the taxi services. part of my duties is to ensure the compliance of the full time driving requirement for the taxi medallion holders and with this capacity, i also analyze and detect fraud in the industry and gather proper evidence for disciplinary cases. as you can see from the records, i was the investigator who audited mr. kipnis' weigh bills for 2007, 08 and 09, and
i bring before you regarding the discrepancies for the weigh bills for 2009, it's marked under exhibit c as you can see, in my first visit to the company back in june, 2010, i only found 33 weigh bills, it was after the fact, after the audit was conducted, 79 additional other weigh bills were turned in, i found numerous discrepancies, a lot of them had to do with duplicate ways, a lot of overlapping mileage in the sequence of the weigh bills, from the exhibit, there was at least 23 discrepancies found. i'm not going to go too much into details, perhaps you can take a look at them. in addition to just the
numerous discrepancies, i would also like to show you some other weigh bills that i found that were somewhat problematic. if you look at these two particular dates here, okay, one is dated may 22, 2009, black and white checker cap in the lowing goe -- logo at the top, it ascertains he drove that shift, if you look at the weigh bills, there's a total of ten fares, the destination, pier 3009 in the amount of 20 dollars, now i'm going to shift
over to the other weigh bill, now this one is dated may 15, 2009, again, it's got mr. kipnis' signature, if you look at the fares again, it is exactly written the same way but it is reversed, it reverses and it is exactly the same pattern for every single fare which is ten fare ins that particular weigh bill, these are duplicate fa -- fares, it is the same, that's one of the examples that i would like to show. again, for the record, it's may 22 and may 15th, two separate dates. in my next evidence, i would like to show, there's another date driven by mr. kipnis dated
may 8, 2009, and again, you can compare to this other weigh bill, may 2, 2009. if you look at the total mileage -- >> can you give me a second to get to the place in the packet, please. okay. >> okay, you look at the first box under the mileage, it's 79 thousand 121, that's the starting mileage, that's when the driver first starts off the shift, and when it finishes, it ends at 79 thousand 343, that's the ending miles and the meter reading inside of the taxi cab once the shift ends. now i'm going to shift over to the other weigh bill for the one dated may 8, 2009. if look at the mileage, it's 79 thousand 318, which means it
overlaps with the may 2, 2009 weigh bill, so these are some of the discrepancies that i see and it's numerous and we believe this is a way of deceiving sfmta, with that, i'm going to have mr. murray finish up. >> and just in the interest of time to wrap up, mta stands by the work done by our investigator and we believe this appeal by mr. kipnis should be denied. thank you. >> thank you. is there any public comment on this item? >> actually, counsel, can i ask you, i think one of the points made by the appellant was that there was no progressive disciplinary admonishments, was that practice within mta? can you address that issue, please. >> yes, certainly. the practice was to admonish
all the drivers for any issues or discrepancies that they may have had, and we still practice that today. we consider mr. kipnis because he had three years in a row based upon our findings originally regarding his driving requirements so it wasn't an issue where he had one bad year, he had an issue of three bad years so we had to move for the egregious behavior versus you had one bad year, let's see if we can work on it. >> but at this point, it's been found that it's been one bad year. isn't that what's in the record, only 2009 was -- >> correct, the hearing officer only found 2009. >> with that information and with that finding, would that change if you were to go back and start over and taking as true the decision by the hearing officer that it's only one bad year, would that then
suggest to the department that maybe he should receive an admonishment rather than a revocation? >> well, not necessarily because we don't necessarily do the admonishment anymore, we will impose stiff penalties, so at a bare minimum even today if mr. kipnis had this issue and had no other issue with us, we would let him know that it's going to be a fine and/or revocation and likely we would look at mitigating factors whether it would be just the fine or both, but he definitely would have been issued a fine. >> and not a revocation? >> not necessarily, but very likely depending on any mitigating factor that is he could demonstrate. >> okay, thank you. >> do you have a question? >> there does appear to be a pattern of overlapping weigh
bills, duplicates in the same day. what explanation has been offered for that? i don't know whether to address that to you or to counsel for mr. kipnis. >> or you can both answer it. >> if you have an answer, otherwise, we'll ask ms. mason. >> we have not received an answer other than what was given at the previous hearing which was as part of the finding from the hearing officer, but beyond that, we felt that the answer was inadequate which was typically somewhere along the lines was it was a mistake or i don't know. >> just to clarify, exhibit c is pretty much a complete list of all the so-called mistakes that you found, is that correct? >> correct. >> thank you. >> can we hear from counsel for the appellant on that issue? where did she go?
oh, there she is. >> i'm sorry, you repeat the question? >> the question was what was the justification for the discrepancies and the file laj -- mileage for instance. er >> apparently everyone makes mistakes, clearly we've shown that mta has made a lot of mistakes in their investigation and they have a perfect situation of people who have advanced degrees, who are working in lighted rooms, who have calculators, who have computers, etc., mr. kipnis is out driving on a busy friday and a saturday night where he's yelling at people and trying to keep it together and trying to keep a record at the same time, and honestly, you know, ultimately we have no objections to the weigh bills that were flagged being thrown out because in the worst case scenario, there would still be 80 weigh bills for that year even if those were all thrown
out. >> i count 28 findings of mileage overlaps, duplicate dates, etc., it seems to be more than just a couple of mistakes. >> for a one-year period for a driver, it's not that unusual, and again, we believe that a system of progressive discipline should have been used here if it was a matter of not keeping good records, if it's sloppy bookkeeping but the department has really failed to show any additional evidence, and throwing in the arguments that some weigh bills were too pristine or handwriting looks different from this date to that date is really pushing the envelope and actually, i think it looks bad on the
department's credibility. >> do you have anymore questions? >> no. >> thank you. >> okay, we can take public comment now if there's anyone here who would like to speak on this matter, please step forward. okay, seeing none, then we can move into rebuttal. >> good evening again, commissioners. as was stated, apparently everyone makes mistakes including mta and while we don't necessarily have dna samples that exculpate mr. kipnis, we do have a declaration from his driver showing he saw him regularly driving his taxi in 2009 and that's just one example of evidence that could have been
drawn out in this investigation that showed he was actually driving. mta has failed to prove fraud and the evidence of overly pristine weigh bills, etc., is not that persuasive, an admonishment would be more appropriate in this case, not revocation when mr. kipnis has been working in the industry for 28 years and about half of that time as a medallion holder. so, in closing, you know, in the worst case scenario and for lack of additional evidence to support sfmta's claims, mr. kipnis should be facing disciplinary charges for sloppy bookkeeping and even if the specifically affected weigh bills were flagged, excluded, the 19 duplicates plus 8 weigh bills with long numbers and the mileage recorded, he would still be left with 80 weigh bills which is the exact number
he needs to meet his full time driving requirement and he will not run the risk of [inaudible] they're under mandate to switch to electronic weigh bills by the end of this year, so we would urge this commission to extend that time in mr. kipnis' driving record so that he can get into that system and can show the mta a more definitively that he drove and not have to depend on sloppy bookkeeping or weigh bill records. >> thank you. >> i just have a question, i'm sorry, is there -- is mr. shamis here? >> yes, he is, he's here.
>> my name is boris shamis. >> my question is you prepared this declaration for the appellant's attorney? >> yes. >> and from what i take it from reading your declaration, you're stating that you know that mr. kipnis has been driving at least every saturday night? >> and friday too. >> and friday for the last year, i believe it is? >> for last at least 10 or 12 years, i don't know exactly numbers, and i'm very surprised if mta was making such a big issue of this, why don't they even ask me about it because we was working together for 12 years and i know all the shifts, what he was working. >> okay, so in 2009, the
relevant year here, you're stating he worked saturday and friday nights? >> yes, saturday and friday nights. >> with the exception of one or two times? >> i don't remember exactly the numbers of the days three years ago, it might be one or two, maybe three, i can't tell, but i know that he was working more than it's supposed to be on their rules. >> and you signed this declaration under penalty of perjury? >> yes. >> okay, thank you very much. er >> you're very welcome. and may i ask one question? actually, it's a question to this guy who is investigator? >> i think we have sufficient information. >> if you have a question of mta, you should ask them separately. >> i just want to know if he ever work in the cab? >> okay *, thank you. >> mr. murray, we can take your
rebuttal now. >> i wonder if you could call the building management to see if they can set up an overflow room for people waiting in the hall. thank you. >> thank you, commissioners. just really briefly, again, mr. kipnis had two opportunities, we had two hearings, mr. shamis, his statement, i mean while he says he's not sure, he can't remember 2009, he had two opportunity tos bring mr. shamis to a hearing, he could have roughening -- broukt him to the 2010 or 2011 hearing to discuss his driving record. >> please, it's not your turn. >> and as far as when we're
looking at -- when we look at the weigh bills, we have to look at every single thing, and mr. leon's job is to determine all the discrepancies and the issues involved with all of them. by pointing out to you the handwriting, we weren't pointing out mr. kipnis' key strokes or anything of that sort, we were just looking at, there is a naked eye difference between his cursive and his print and it calls into question some issues, but beyond that, mr. kipnis had two separate hearings represented both times to present all the information. we reviewed all the information, the sfmta objected to the introduction of the new evidence of 07, 08, and 09, and the hearing officer allowed that in and we still stand by our objection to that information but assuming that that information is in, all the discrepancies lead to the
conclusion that -- or to a reasonable conclusion that if 29 of these are inaccurate and i don't mean just a let r or two off here and there, but duplicate dates, overlapping mileage, columns where your from and to are simply reversed on a separate weigh bill but the exact same fares, that to us demonstrates at least a reasonable standard that those weigh bills were not made while a person was driving, those weigh bills were manufacturer after the fact. so, we again stand behind that material and believe that this appeal should be denied. thank you. >> i have a question of mr. leon. in your declaration as part of the submission by your office,
paragraph 6 references a prior admonishment. this is a declaration -- sorry, this is exhibit a to your declaration, sorry, this is exhibit a which is an excerpt or is your declaration and it references a formal reprimand from march of 2000, it's paragraph 6. >> yes. >> you didn't attach that formal reprimand, but what type of penalty did that involve? >> i believe based on the record, it was again a failure to satisfy the driving requirement, but it didn't specify this specific shift, it was just provided by the taxi detail at that time back in 2000, those are the records that i gathered. >> do you know what the penalty -- i mean, admonishment is a warning letter, a reprimand.
>> yeah, it was just like a warning at that time back in 2000. >> and do you know whether the practice was you would get a couple of warnings or a couple of admonishments and then revocation? >> well, in the past practices in the taxi detail, they would not audit the weigh bills every single year. >> instructor: but since 2000, you did. >> they would audit the weigh bills once every few years but not once every consecutive years, so based on mr. kipnis' records, those were the information i got. >> so, paragraph 6 of your declaration, i might be reading it wrong, it says the taxi section have conducted prop k audits almost every year for mr. kipnis since 2000.
so, you did it in 2001, 2002. er >> no. >> so, the next time you conducted an audit was 2007? >> yes. >> thanks, i have nothing further. >> commissioners, the matter is submitted. >> well, i am of the opinion that there was no fraud here, and i understand we don't have to make a finding that that was the case, however, what i believe is that there was some sloppy bookkeeping going on which i don't think we are all immune from on occasion, and i
find that given the long extensive service that mr. kipnis has provided the city as a taxi driver, i don't find this sloppiness particularly egregious particularly given the circumstances of being a taxi driver in san francisco and i also find the statements of mr. shamis to be persuasive to me in terms of establishing that mr. kipnis was in fact driving the required amount of shifts and time, so i would -- the other thing i also find persuasive is that there is only one year at issue here, and that to me is not egregious as well and also that the system is going to change as i understand it to keeping track
of these records in an electronic format so hopefully we won't have these issues going forward, so i would vote to overturn or grant the appeal and reverse i guess the revocation of the taxi medallion. >> i'm similarly sympathetic to the appellant. i think having an admonishment in 2000 and then having the department come up with allegations later found to be not proved for 2007, 2008 shows that this is a difficult process and procedure for determining using weigh bills that are handwritten as to whether a particular driver has
satisfied the driving requirement and i agree with many of the other sentiments stated by my co-commissioner, and i'm a firm believer in giving individuals notice before you revoke their main source of livelihood. i wouldn't necessarily liken to capital punishment but i think it is serious to take away someone's sole source of revenue after working in this industry for that many years. >> so, you're making a motion to -- >> i don't know what you're leaning on, we would do our normal practice, continue, because we would need three votes to overturn the department. >> i wanted to clarify, if that motion passes, does that allow
the medallion to continue to be held by the fine stays in place? >> good question. >> i think the fine is also dropped along with the revocation. are you looking for -- >> i don't believe we have jurisdiction. >> we have no jurisdiction over the fine. >> if there's no basis for revocation, i don't think that's a -- >> that's going to be an issue for the mta and the permittee. >> i think the mta will have to make that determination if the permit is not revoked. >> okay. so, on the basis that we stated earlier, i would move to grant the appeal and reverse the revocation. >> okay. >> so, could i just suggest
that on that basis, there was insufficient evidence to support a revocation? >> that's correct. >> we have a motion then from the president to grant this appeal, overrule the revocation and thus reinstate the medallion. i believe the finding was that there was insufficient evidence to support the revocation. on that motion to overrule with
that finding, the vice-president is absent, commissioner hurtado? >> aye. >> commissioner lazarus? >> aye. >> thank you, the vote is 3-0, the revocation is overruled, the medallion is reinstated with that finding. thank you. >> okay, president hwang, i'm inclined to call the next case which i think will go relatively quickly, or if you would like to call a break. >> the next item is number 6, appeal number 12-087, the subject is 114-124 noe street, it is protesting the i issue yans of july 12, 2012 to the department of public works, permit to remove and replace one tree. we'll start with the appellant.
you have 7 minutes. >> greetings, president hwang and fellow board members, is there anybody from the department of public works present? >> yes, there is. >> oh, there is. >> ms. short is here. >> we were promised by se seal ya at 1650 mission at apartment 304, informed me that notices of a public hearing would be posted regarding this. i live one block over and the only notices that i have seen posted regarding this hearing were posted by a private citizen. i would like to request continuance so as to have the notices posted as i believe are required by law. >> we have a requirement to -- if you could stop the clock,